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1- •< 


rmoH TBE etvuKsT or 


(Ob* of 1^14) 

" P i Bfci M hnm fm ta ■ ■fa 1b Iha IwlplUpval 


I'l \u 

-I'll '^^ji- J' '*',}'''l^ri>fl-/>3 




' OF PERFECflOr^ Written by 
Essay on The Spiritual Life of Me- 
diaeval England by the Rev, J. B, 
DALGAIRNS, Priest of the Oratory 

MoA«a plus profcdt \n monte adorando quam 
muhiiudo mas'^a beilantium 






-'- ■' ■--..-. 





Of all the old Enp:lish ascetical worka which 
were extant before the Reformation ncne have 
fnainiained their reputation longer than Walter 
Hilton's *' Scale of Perfection," Hilton was a 
canon of Thurgarton in Notlinghamshire, and 
died in 1395. His "Scale of Perfection" is 
found in no less than five MSS. in the Bntisb 
£pluseuin alone. Wynkyn de Worde printed it at 
least three times — In the years 1494, 1519 and 
IJ35. Many other editions were printed at the 
dame period. 

After the Reformation it was a favourite book 
of Father Augijstine Baker's, the well-known 
author of " San eta Sophia/' and his comments 
on it are among his MSS. at Downside. In 
1C55 Father Baker's biographer and cditon Dom 
Serenus Cressy, O.S.B,, published an edition of 
the "Scale/' the title-page of which claims that 
"by the changing of some antiquated words [it is] 
rendered more inlelligiWe." Another edition 
appeared in 167J, and yet another in 1679. 

Within our own times two editions have been 
published — one by the late Father Ephrem Guy, 


Publisheps' Note 

O^S.B,, in i86g, the other, a reprint of Cressy's, 
in 1870, with an introduction by Father Dal- 
gaims on the " Spiritual Life of Mediaeval 
England." Cressy's text has ag^n been used in 
the present edition, and Father Dsilgaims's 
Essay b also reprinted in this volume. 



An C^sav on the Splritj&l Life of McJtacv&L 
£n^ld-nd .« ... ..■ -.. >■• >b 



L That the toward Statt of the Soul ahoultJ be Itto 

Ibc outward ,.. .,. h^h i 

tL Of the Active Life, and tbe Ex«rc]*» *nd the 

Wurka ihtraof ... „. ,,. ... .., 3 

UL Of IhE ContvinpUiivc Lifci and tbe E3rGrt:ls«9 &nd 

Workn ibereof .., 3 

IV. Of thre^ Sorts that be of Conteinplalioii, and of 

tfae Fiiat of ihenj... -, , ,,- 4 

V. Of th« Sec^ond Sort oi Contemplalion t 

VI. Of ttiE Lower Degree of Ibe Second Sort gf Con- 

tcmplaLlDii ., ... ... ... ... ... ^ 

Vn. Of the Higher Degree of the Second Sort of Con. 

tentplation... ... , B 

VIIL Of ttc Thin] Sort of Contemplation 9 

IX Of the DilTerrnH that is betwixt Ihe Second and 

Third Soft of Contemptaiion ... ... .„ 10 

3L How thai Appcarirg-i or Shewini^s lo the Corporal 
Senses or FeeCingi may be bolh gvod and 
evil... 12 

3CIi How Ihoki Ahalt know wbethcr (fee Shawin^ or 
Apparition to llic bodil/ Senaes And Feelinj^a 
be good orevil ... .r. ... .,. ij 

XtL How and in what things a Contemplative Man 

should be buried-.. ... .„ ,., ,,. 17 

XHL Bow Virtue bEginnelh in Reason And Will And is 

perteded m Love and Liking, or Atledion ,„ |g 

XIV* Of Ibc McBDv Lbiit bring » Soul to Conkniplation ig 






H vlU 

Contents 1 

^^^^^^ ottmiii 



(i) WhHt ■ M\n should use and refuse by Ihe 


Virtue of Humitily ,,. ,,, 



\t\) How Hypocriics and Horel^cEi, for want of 


HuinUi[>'4 cunU thcoisclvca ld Lbcir Hcacis 


&bovc olhtia 4.. ... .,, .4. ... 


^^m xvL 

Of a firm Faith nrcri^ar^ Ihcrflo, and what 


thin^ we ou^Eit Lo bellrve [hereby 



or B firm and resoluLe Imcnt snd Purpcae 


DFCe^sarj Lhercta ,, , 


^H xviji. 

A bnef Kehcar^ of what halh becTi snidy and of 
an Offering laadc of ibcm altogclhcr to 


J«3iia .., ... 





(i) Of Prayer, *nd Ihe several Sorla Thers&f 

(^) Hew they abould do ihal arc troLiblcd with 



vain TboLigtiE:! in tbcir Prajcra 



(ij Of Mcdililion 

(iij Of divcn Tcmptaliona of the Eflcmy, *nd 



the Remedies against them... 



That a Man should know the rnea.<ure af his 
Gin. that he may duijc anJ take a bcLt«r 


wbcn God i^iveth it .,, .t. *.. ,.. 



PART iir 


or the Knowlcdi^^c of a Nfan'a Roulj and tba 


Fowcrj thereof necesaarj" to ConEemplation 



Of the Warthinei* and Excellency of Lh« Soul 


and how it was Jasi ... 


^^P IlL 

[i) Thar a Man shmild b? indu^riouA to recover 
again bis ancifnl DigniEy, and reform 
within him ihe Iina£-e of the THnily, and 


hoiv It may be done ... , . ... t.. 



(il) That Lhis Dignity and Imagv i* rettcrf<[ by 


Jesusi and bow He la to be desired, sought 


and found .,. ... ... 



(1) Of the Ground and ImaK-e uf Sin in d», whkb 
is 5r»t to be fa^md out and Laboured 


agaiAtt, and hovr it la to be done ... ... 



(fl) Wbat the seid Imnge of Sin is, properly, and 


tfthat CODietb out ot it,,^ » 








\ Contents 




{*] Of the Seven Deadly Sirn, incl finrt fff PriJe, 
ivhal ■( IS. and i\hen it is.& deadly Sia and 


wta«a buT venial ,„ ... .., 


(ii) Hair Pnclc In Herclla And In Hjpocrile* I* 

deadly Sin t.. ,„ ., 


Ciii) A sh'Mt Ethoriaiion lo HumlMl/ mnd 


Cliariiy, Willi a Conclusion how h Man 


may kn<iw lion* mucb ?ndc he halb in tilin 


f "■ 

pj Of Envy and Wrath and Thtrir BmricTiM, and 
haw. inslead of Sin, the Persoa i^ onEH 





(u) Thai it Is a Mastftr^ and noble Skill ittlove 



M«n^t P?rson«. and yet wisely to bate their 



Rm-i, and lipw ... 



0u] Haw a Man shnll hnc^r haw much Wmlh 


and Envy is bid In Ihe ground of hla 



Heart, and hortr he may Linotv whplher be 



loT« hi^ Enrmif*, ;ii\'<i rhe Examples we 



h^vn iheifofin our Saviour. 



Of Covet ou^nvss, and haw a Man may know hov 


much of it IS liid in bis Heart 

loj ^^^^^^H 


(i) Of Gluttonv, and how a Man ahal] knoir when 
he sinnelh not in EaEing find Dnnkin^t and 


when be vianelh vealally, and VFh«ii deadly 


(3) That a Man should hs busy lo put away and 


brnder alt Maiiori^ ai Sm, but more busy 


a]»ul those of Spij-itual Sins than those of 




Oil) Whai Rcmedya Man i1ii:»L]rd use against lbs 


Faults in Ealing and L^Trinking: .>, ,>■ 

1)3 ^^^H 


Of the rive WindD<V4 of ihi« dark Ima^, and 
what eomcih In by [hem, and how they are 


to bcordered ... ... 

"s ^^^H 


Of another Ha1« orWindoiv Ehalia to be stfipped 
as Well a^ Ihe VVindnw^ of Ihf ben^ea. vi;.. 

th« Ima^nalion 

lit ^^^^^1 


A Brief ReUcanal of what hath been saM m the 
former Chapter*. uwUh a I'orlriLilure &f this 


dark lm;<ge ct >iii 

tsi ^^^^^H 


A cctnpurintr of iMa linaee with the Image of 


Jei\i«, ai^d liQW it is to he dciill n'ilh 



How a Man ih^ll he ihaper lo ihe Imn^e of 



itsus« aad Jcaiiis ahapcii in iiui 

130 ^^^H 





^B cwT-m 


^H XIV, 

«^ < nx MBdr, «a4 bow •he for «bam il 


mi ude vss 1» ^Bke ^ ttf it 











S«l »Bd HC sfirr ttic Bcdj ; and bQV h« 


■■liitiHiTfttij 'ill 



(E) Tb4t J«wi wd Pann* ind ftlka blse Chri*- 
lixns are oot rrfomn} cflinrriiairj ihrou^ 



tbciinue of Ibc I^bs»cd through tbcirtiwn 


FadIis ,,, 



Of iwo AlAnntn of Rfformrnp of ibis Ima^, onr 


in lU^ne?kS, anofber In p^rt „. 



Tlut RFformin^ in pirt i4 in (no nannm, one 


in FaitFk, anothfr to FreLng..- 



Tb>1 thrCM^h trip Sjif:fADm>I ol Bipiiim f nhich 
ia ^rDi;ndft! in [far Pa£«ion of ChriMj liiis 



Jmagc IS rcfcnDTd frum Ori^nAl S^n ... 



Thai throne^ 'he Sicrament of Ptnanw (thai 
cooajslelh in C'DolrilLoa. Confe&sjOM and 
Stl^fHOioD) tbis linage is refonocd from 


Actual Sin .^4 ^4' -■> .-■ 



TbjJ vic arc to believe stnlf&itly (be tcfarmtng 
oftbi^ Ima^, ifour Con^icncc witncu lt> 
ufl a full forsaU'in^ c( h>iii| and a true lum- 


iagof Qur U iLJ lo ^cod living 



TtHt »]t Ibe "^oub Ihal live humbtf iq the F«ith 
of Holy Clturch, aiid hBTe their {''ailti eri- 
livpTiM wiTli Love and Cbarity, betcfortned 



by Ihi9 Sacmmrnt, (linug^h it be fmj that 


Ihcy cannui fed tlic ^pccl^ll ^'H of Devotion 


or of spirilua.! fccJinj- ,.. .-, 


^^B vuL 

Thai Sojh reformed need ever to fg'tit and nirive 
againM the Molion^ of Sin while Ibey live 
here. And how gi Soul niny know when 
ahe aasenlclb to tht&e Motions, and whtn 





Tbal this IrnR^e U bolh fair Vnd faul Vfhi]>d il is 
in (tu!t Life hcrci Ihough it b< reformed; 
and of the DifTecenceH of (he terref F«eU 
in^K of rhn&e thai be refonned and %\iO&t 


tbal be not 









or Ibrcr HJrts of Mcnt wTitreof ?onic bt aoi rt- 
faniicd. And some be rcformeti only In 
FfiiEh, irad &o(nc boTh in F»iEti anU Feeling 164 
XI. How Men cIiaI jtbicle and li\c m S'ln, mis-sliapf: 
themselves mlo I he Jikcricaa of diver? 
Bra.«(^, and (hey be called ihc Levers of 

the World 165 

XII* OJ How Lovefi ofthifl World in divers ways dia- 
enabl? thcmae[f» fnjni becoming rcl^rmed 
in their Sdu]« ,., ,.. .., ... . . 169 
A link Coiin«l ht>w Lovers of thl'i World 
Bhoutd do, it ihey will be reformed In their 
£Dbl( before Ihejr depanune henc:e,., ,. IJi 

0/ Jif/oftiitig IP* Faiik and ^reling also. 

That [his Refonuln^ cannot be suddenly ^tlcnt 
but in lrr»}^h <if Timr, by Griice, and much 
SplrilLial and Corporal Industry ,.^ ,,. 174 

(ij The Cau5C4 wliy sc few Souls \u tcmparison 
ol Ihc MuLuiudc of others^ come ia this 
RefDrming iLat ia bolb in Failb and 
Feeling „. „ ... ... ,.. 176 

(ii) Udw thftt ivithoLiE grent Corporal and Spiri- 
tual tiidMslry, and uiiliotil much Grace and 
Humilily, SouU cannol come [o rtformlnff 
in Feeling nor keep Ihemsclven therein 
afccr itiey come Ehcrcto ... ... ... idi 

Jll- An Entry or good Beginning of a SplriEual 
Joumevn jiho^ing how a Suul Jihould be- 
have hcrarif lu InlcndiH); anJ M'orkin^ ihat 
tFiLl came I0 Ibis KeiDrminj:;, by example of 

a PiJjj^m fioifg to Jerusalem lS6 

|Vi or certain Temptations and LeliinKS which 
Souls feel from tLif^r Spirilual £nemic&, in 
Ibeir Spirilual knowing and gr^ng loward« 
JerLi4fl]eni, and ihp Remedies agnin^l \\\etn T9J 
V. Of &n tvil Day and a ^^ Nig;ht, and wbat (hfly 
mean, :ind how <he Love oi the Warld il 
likened ro an Fvil Day, and Ihc lovc of God 
Id a good Night ... ..^ ... .'- 19A 
VI, How tha.F the De.iitre nf Jr^uq Feft in \\\\^ It^ht- 
lome U,irknes*i ilayclh all Maiion.q ol' ^Ln, 
and enabti^Ui the Scul (0 percave spiritual 
Lightnings fnim the heavenly JerLLaakoit 
tUt b, Juui J04 




VIL ITonr m. Man thai Unow FaTte IllumTnatfoTis, that 
are (cigTied by the Hncm/i From llie Irue 
Lighl of knowing (hat romclh out of Jesus, 
anj bj what tokens ... .., ,.. 

VIIL How gTtJiC profit it ls lo the Soul to be broui^ht 
[hrdugh Grace into li^ht^ame OArknets, 
■.nd how a Man ^hall diipow bLmaelf if b* 
Will come ihErelo .,, ... 

DC Thai \he Working^ of our Lord Jesus in the Re- 
forcning^ of a Soul, is divided inlo four 
Iirnes» ft'hLch Are : CalJinf, Jusiifying, 
Magnifying- and Glorifying .,. 

X. How it fnllcth Qui sometLmes that Soula Ehiil ora 
but bef^innin^ or prdiittng in Grace seera 
to havr morp Love, xs to outward tokens 
thereof, tban aomt liAve Eliai be perfect, 
&nd Jet k ii not reolLj it in their Inlerior,., 

XI. After wlut manner a Man <hall eome to know 
his own Soul, and how a Man should act 
his Love ia Jeans, God adU Mao in ana 


L la what 5ensc this Manner of Spcak^ng^ of R<s 
forming of a Soul m Feeling id to be under- 
■to«cl i nrid in what Mann<^r iL ia rrformcd, 
and how it i« found in St Paul'i Wnting-i 

tl. Row Gixl opeTielh the inward Eye of the Soul to 
dec l)]ni| aal aU at once, but b_v diven 
limea, &nd of 1.hrec Mannrra of rcfarming 
of a Soul explained by a Tamiliar KicampLe 

IlL How Jesus is He^Lven to the Soul, and wh/ He is 
called Fire --. ,., ... .-h 

IV, Of two manner of Love*, crrattd and Lincrtoted, 
and how we are bound to Jove Jesu!i much 
fir our Creation ; bul more for our Kc- 
dempiion ; and idotiI of all for otir Salva- 
tion, through the gifts of Hia Love ,., 
V. How that »ome Soul* love Jmus by bodUy 
Fervours, and by their awv hunmri Affco- 
lion* thai ere moved by Grace and by 
Reason. And how «ome love Him more 
qjielly by splntunl AfFtfclion* ojily mov^d 
inwardly Ihrougti spinlual Grace of the 
Ilol/Gbobt ., 




VL Thar [ht nin or Love. UTicng-it ad other Gifti or 
Jca\is, is nioAl worthy and moil prafiiable. 
And bow Jcbu^ doih ±11 thai is well done in 
His loTcrS) only far Love. Ard how Love 
fOAketli the exercise af a.i\ Virtuca &ad »U 
good Dwda light and easy ... ... ,„ t^ 

How Love ihrrjuE^h g^racioua Beholding of T«m 
Alajcth aIJ »llrrln^ of Pride ^ and niAkelb 
the Soul lo lose the savour and deUgbl in 
all earthly Honours -.. ,., 35S 

VIH. tlofp Lave ftlayerb all sLimn^ of WnLlh and 
Envy eaaily i and rcforineth In tbc Soul 
tht Virtues nf Peace and ['atience, and of 
perfect Qha,n\y Iq hia NeJgbbour, aa He 
did ipecialJy in rbe AposHes .,. ,., 164 

How Love alayelb Covclousneaa. Lrcherj and 
Glulfonv, and the Hc^ihTy delight and 
savour m all the live Bodily Senses, softiy 
and cBiily, Ihrough a ^racinui beholdiriff 
of Jmub . 30f 

Wbat Virtuu and Gtaces a Soul receive lb 
thfOiig^ opening of the mii«r eye into tbc 
Urariaui t>eholdin^ of Je>(ii4, and hoir it 
cannot be jjotlen only by man'a labour, but 
throng special grace and hla own Uboiir 
»1» ■■ ' '■ ■' " 373 

How such apeeial Grace for the Beboldin^f of 
□ur Lord Jenui m wifbdrawn samelimei 
from a Soul i and how a Soul la to Behave 
bcr^df m the Absence and in the Presence 
of Jc9U3, and how a Soul shall alwaya dc- 
•ire (aa much aa is la bn-) tbe gradoua 
Proence of Jesus ... .„ -.. ... aSi 

A CoitimcncJfllion of Prayer offered apto Jcius 
by a CoFi^cmplarive Soul, and bow slable^ 
neai m Prayer is a 5i:cure worU to &land 
in; and how euery Feeling- of Grace in a 
choseft Soul may be called jetua- But Ihe 
mare dean Ihe Soul is, die more wonhy 
the Grace Li ... ... ,., 1B8 

XTH' Httw a SouJ tbroti^b the opening of Ibe sprritual 
Eye r«ceive(h a ^rachou^ Love enabling to 
urdertTf^nd ihe Holy Scnpturea : anj ^ow 
Jesu9. fhai ts hid in the Holy bcriptures. 
sbowetb Him&cir lo His Lovcn .„ .,. 4^4 

^^B xfv 



Contents 1 



^^1 XIV. 

Of Ibe secret Voice or Jcsu> aoundirE" in a Soul, 
anil how it may be ^nown. And how all 
the ^raciDuq hluminaTionS made ia a Soul 


be called ttie Speakings of jesua ^ 



(i) How through gfraoiou!* Opening of ihe Spir3- 
liiAl Eyp a Soul ia made Wi^ie, htimbly and 
truly m 5Fe the ii\\erR'lt^e.*^ of Itcerees in 
HoJy Church, aa Miliuni. and for lo see 
the nature of Angels; and JiraL of the 


Reprobate ^, ... 



(ii) How by The same li^t of Grace Ihe >'atiire 


cif the hlF<i>ie[1 Angela b *iefii- And huw 


Jeaua 13 God and Man above all Crealurcst 


ticcording to ihat rth'ich the SouL ra&f ueo 


of UiiQ h«ra .,. ^.. ... ... ... 

307 J 






Thai he who intends lo became a Spinlual Man 
must first uae mncli Bodil/ l^xen^ise in 



FenflDce, and in Destroying of Sin 



To what kind of Men tht Active Life peitaineth 



To whom the Contrmplallve Life appcrtainelh,,. 



To ^bofn appcrtaiFieth the Mixed Life ... ... 



How holy fijshopi held and u^ed Ihe wd Uixrd 


Life ., 



Wbat kind of Life was most fitting for biim ior 


whom rhin Treatise win made 



TbaL a Man's Devotion sometimes will be (he 
H^realcr h^ reason of fhc outward Work 
urhicb berore out of Chanty he hath been 


in hatid with .,. .. 



Wliat the Dcalfc t»f God for Himself U| and how 
thai in Cleanness of Conscience is found 


true Comfort and Sweetness .■. ... 



How Lhou shall DispQiie Ehse to Devotion 



liow A Man is to Thiak on Ibe Humanity of 


ChriMt .., ,^ ., 



Hoh a Man shall tklnk on Vittuea uid upon the 


Saints .. ... .„ .). ... ... 



Hon A Man thai! think of (he HoLines* or our 


Lord JcBUS and of our Blcjascd Lady 

Wti j 







Of seeing and bcholdinj^ (lie Power (by some 
ecnaiiJeration i>r tbinUin^^i the ^^ iaJom) 
ibq Goodnen and the Msrcy trf God in 
His Crealjres ... 

How tbe ContidcratiDH and Ihinking Dn Ihe 
Jiliicries and Prril* cf ibis Life It ppl to 
breed in n soul ibe Dciiire of Heaven ..^ 

How a Man sliall do vihea he ffeletb na Imste 
par c^mfon in bis Menial Excrcisei ,.. 

What a Maa la to lake heed of in bis Prayers 

and Med I lai ions 





as I 

^A£* '33i heading:, rrtutthc Second Book) PatI I. 
Page 234, lire 9, /tr far no^for. 

PjLgea V37'3i<>j headlinci, /^ Th« Third Book nad 
Second Book, 


LAND > > ^ 




Spiritual Life of Mediaeval England 

It is only very gradually that we are obtaining- 
& real knowledge of the Middle Agea. Hitherto 
Tl has beer one of those subjects which no one 
could approach without getting irlo a passion. 
Just as no one can talk soberly of Marj-, Queen 
of ScotSj so it would appear as if few could keep 
their tempers in speaking or writing of the 
medieval time. The fact is that it is only by 
little that we can understand a period so very 
different trom our own. A chaotic time is always 
1 lime of great contrasts, when profound igno- 
rance exists side by side with considerable learn- 
ins in individual instances, when herssies are 
wild and monstrous, while failli is touchingly 
amiple and devoted. The real difficulty is to 
estimate the condition of the masses. It requires 
i patient spirit of research into mmute details 
and dry statistics, united with a reverential ad^ 
Duration, a sifting criticism as well as a devout 
imagination, to avoid overweij^hting isolated 
"Stances and attaching undue importance to 
outstanding and striking features. I am not 
goiTt^ to enter upon this dangerous ground. My 
^\y anxiety is to protest against what I cannot 
Ittt consider a great error^ both historically and 
ecclesiastically, the assumption that the Middle 
Aj*5 are the model time of Christianity. It 


The Spiritual Life 

matters little what a man thinks about mediaeval 
architecture, vestments and embroidery, but it 
does matter a good deal what principles a man 
holds as !o what may be called the philosophy of 
Church History- If he conceives the grand story 
of God's Church as though it were a pyramid, the 
apeit of which is formed by the Middle Ag^s, 
while modem Christendom is oti the downward 
side, then his whole view of Christianity is 
wrong. The Church never grows old, and it has 
advantages in the nineteenth century which it 
had not in the thirteenth. What, however, 
strikes a student of history most forcibly is that 
the more minutely we know the ages which are 
past, the more we learn the oneness of the spirit 
amidst all outward differences of form. We are 
every day obtaining more knowledge about the 
Middle Ages. Much has come to light since, 
thirty years ago, I wrote some *^ Lives of English 
Medieval Saints" at Littlemore, and, little as I 
have been able to follow the progress of history 
since then, I have seen enough to acknowledge 
that recent publications have brought with them 
tlie convictiun that there was far more interior 
and mystical life amongst our ancestors than 
appeared at first sight. 

Very much has been done for us by such 
learned bodies as the Early English Text 
Society, and by such men as Pfeifler in Germany 
and Lecoy de la Marche in France. Now we not 
only possess sennons like those of St Bernard 
addressed to monks in the cloister, but we have 
the identical vernacular sermon which roused to 
passionate grief the mediaeval sinner, and drew 
tears of sweet devotion from the eyes of the 
citizens of Cologne, Paris and London, or the 
peasants of country parishes in the Black Forest 

of Mediaeval Eng'Und 


or the Weald of Kent. We have the English 
prayers which were said before the Rosary was 
invented, and the devotions which toiiched the 
hearts of men and women living in the midst of 
that world which seems so strange and so far off 
to us. I must confess that without anydeprecia- 
Iton of our grand old Cathedrals, *'The Wooing 
of our Lord" and "The Ancren Riwle" have 
more charms for me than a thousand painted 
windows. 1 know the thoug-hta which flowed 
from hearts which have long since ceased to beat, 
and I can understand, as I never did before, the 
grim old warriors and their wives who look so 
unearthly side by side upon their tombs. One 
touch of grace makes me feel akin to them. 

The perusal of this liierature has, however, 
far more than a sentimental interest. It has now 
become simply ludicrous to look upon the devo- 
tional ideas of the Middle Ag'es as made up of 
indulgences and gifts to manastcries. These, of 
course, had their right place^ as they have now; 
but, if ever it was doubtful, no one now can 
doubt that the mediaeval sinner knew quite as 
well as the gentleman of the nineteenth century 
that if he offended God and did not resolve never 
lo offend Him again, he would infallibly be lost, 
though he left all his lands lo the neighbouring 
convent. Priests might sing Requiems, and 
ruins might recite their Office, but nought could 
avail the impenitent before the judgement seat of 
Christ, If any man doubt it, let him read a ser- 
mon preached by Bi?rthold of Regensburg, some- 
where near Toggenburg or Sargans, not far from 
Tvhere the railway now skirts the lovely lake of 
Wallen. The barefooted Franciscan introduces, 
in his dramatic way, a man who had kept posses- 
sion of ill-gotten gains rising up in the midst of 

the congregation J and sayings **Ho! Brother 
Berthold, 1 have done good to the brotherhood, 
and I make my coiifn'ssion ev*?ry year; I have 
often entertained you at my house i I am in the 
confraternity, and have besought your prayers* 
that when I am dead you may watch over my 
body with aorig and kclions." "Thou hast done 
well," is the Broiher's answer, **and as soon as 
thou art dead we will sing for thee, and read long 
vigils, and chant beautiful Masses for thy soul, 
and loud Requiems, and bring thee in procession 
from thy parish church into our minster, and lay 
thee before the altar. But, I tell thee, if thou 
hast not restored what thou hast robbed, then, if 
all the tears and the raindrops which were ever 
shed or rained since the world began were turned 
into monks and brothers, grey monks and black. 
Preachers and Minorites — yea, into patriarchs 
and propheLSj martyrs and confessors, widows 
and virgins, and if they were to read and to sing- 
and weep tears of blood before God for thee to 
the day of judgement, they would do thee no 
more good than if the}' did all Ihts for the foul 
fiend-" Such was mediaeval doctrine in the year 
1256. Moreover, it results from many hitherto 
unknown dccuments, that there was much more 
of what we should now call spirituality every- 
where in the Middle Ages than even Catholics 
were disposed to think. It is even plain that 
nations were not reduced to one uniform stan- 
dard. There was, for instance, a type of devo- 
tion which was peculiarly English, and the 
object of the present e5^ay is to point this out, 
Uf course, 1 can only treat the subject cursorily, 
for want of space, and I will confine myself to 
one portion of mediaeval life intimately connected 



of Mediaeval England 


with the book which is here presented to the 

Very little is known of Waller Hihon, the 
author of the "Scale or Ladder of Pertection/" 
It is very likely that more might be known If 
any one took the trouble to search the manu- 
scripts of the British Museum. tiomething- 
perhaps also might be done towards amending 
the text of this book if the edition of it^q, of 
which this is a reprint, were compared with th^ 
old black letter of Wynkyn de Worde, The 
present edition,* however, has solely a spiritual, 
not a critical object, and^ therefore, 1 confine my- 
self to the little which lies on the surface of 
history about this mystical writer, without in- 
quiring* further, Fortunatelyj Father Guv has 
lately, in hi*i excellent ecHtion of "Tlie Scale of 
Perfection," thrown light on the life of Walter 
Hdton, by proving- that he did not belong' 
to the Carthusian Order, but was a Canon 
of Thurgarton, in Noltirgh am shire. Tanner 
had already puhliahed an extract from a manu- 
script, which gave 1395 as the year of his death. 
No one, however^ hail as yet perceived that this 
fact disproves the ordinarv account of his having 
been a member of Henry Vl's Carthaaian 
monastery at Sheen, since that house was roc 
founded till several yecirs later. It might still 
be argued that he belonged to some other house 
of the Order. As, however, there is no authority 
for his having been a Carthusian except the 
erroneous account of his having belonged to 

* li «l)«u]d be remembervd thhC Ihr book ^ii« wriUpa in Ihe 
IburtHitih eenitiij. and The Trader muii expect inaccuradcn 
latrich vouJd not be lolcrHled hgw. For inslancCi I wuu[d 
Mniion Lhc aotbur'a \icwti about the sinv of licntbcnSi and 
Htwle^iutc aoticna of the Sacnincnt nf Penuiu. 


The Spiritual Life 

Sheerij and as the passage quoted by Tanner 
distinctly affirms him to have died at Thurgar- 
ton, Faiher Guy seems to me to have sufficientlv 
proved his point. It is not hard to see how the 
mistake? arose. Walter Hilton had evidently a 
^eat devotion to the Carthusian Order, and 
there is stiil extant in manuscript a panegyric 
of it, addressed to Adam Horsley, an officer of 
the King's Exchequer, wbo by his advice be- 
came a disciple of St Bruno.* On the other 
hand, we shall presently see abundant proof that 
the devotion of the Cattliusians to Walter Hilton 
was no less great There was something in the 
" Scale of Perfection " wliich attracted the monks 
whom the Christian instincts of Henry VI planted 
in the neighbourhood of his palace of Richmond, 
as well as Their brethren of the Charterhouse, 
who kept up a witness for God in the heart of 

There is, however, an especial reason why the 
book should have found its way to Sheen. We 
know from Dugdale thai a benefactor of the 
monastery had assigned out of the manors of 
Lewisham and Greenwich twenty marks a year 
for the maintenance of an anchoret, whose cell 
was in its precincts. Thus there dwelt in the 
midst of Che Carthusians one of those recluses 
to whose instruction the book is dedicated, and 
a description of whom will form a considerable 
part of this easay, 

Now it is not a little strange that a la 
portion of English vernacular literature has 
direct reference to this form of the solitary life- 


" This Ircntiae cjii^ls in raiariiscn'pt in ihc library nf Mcrion 
Cctlli^ge. Mr Bli^Sj one of the librarians of ihc Bodletnn, h&s 
kindly i-kainiiktfd it, and ASSureH me Ihut il iiOAUere icnplicfi tlul 
Hilton hiratpir belonged to the Ord#r. ~ 

dF Mediaeval England 


We possess, be>ti<I«?s Hiiion's *'ScaIe of Perfec- 
tion," two other most remarkable books, ad- 
dressed to or written by anchoresses. They 
will serve as specimens of the spiritual life of 
OUT ancestors at several very striking; periods. 
It is very remarkable that the most startling' 
form of the life of the desert saints should have 
continued in England up to the very moment 
of the Reformation, The Anchorets or An- 
choresses (for there were solitaries of both 
sestes] were more lonely than hermits in the 
sense that they were far more of recluses. The 
hermit livedo it is true, in an out of the way 
place, in a forest, or in one of those many un- 
cultivated spots of which an English common 
or down are the sole relics, but which were 
easily to be found in a country not yet entirely 
cultivated; while the anchorets were commonly 
attached to a church, and were thus not far &om 
their fellowmen. They were, however, immured 
within the four walls of their habitation, while 
the hermit was a free denizen of the woods. 
As we know from St Godric, he might have 
his garden and his cow- The anchorets, on 
the contrary, were strictly confined to their 
cells. They were the descendants of solitaries 
like St Thais and those other recluses of whom 
we read in the annals of the Nile desert, who 
were strictly shut up in their hut and only held 
conversation with ethers through a window, 
which also served as a passage for their food. 
This sort of life, then, was by no means peculiar 
to the Oriental contemplative who iled from the 
old worn-out world of a decrepit civilization. 
The ftame taste for solitude in its most extreme 
form was a part of the young and vigorous life 
of tho^e Teutonic nations whom Christianity 


The Spiritual Life 


converted after the Roman and Hellenvc cul- 
ture had disappeared. While the blood of the 
old Viking's wits Btiil fresh in their veins, men 
and women left the brllljant and varied world 
of the Middle Ages, which was still full of life 
and movement, to shut themselves in a cell, 
with no pro*^pect but the black yews and crosses 
of the church-yard. This was a solitude far 
deeper than that of the great monasteries, each 
of which was a little world. It is evident that 
these recluses were by no means rare. There 
is many a foundation on record for the per- 
petual entertainment of a recluse,* Several 
Pontificals contain a recfular office for these en- H 
closures. Very often the anchoret was a chap- ^ 
lain attached to a church, who said Mass in 
his celL The anchoress was more commonly 
near a church, into which she could look through 
A window, and thus take part in its holy cere- 
monies. Incidental mentiou is often made of 
such recluses in the troubled history of the 
times* Two anchorets were burned in the ^ 
church at Mantes, when William the Conqupror ■ 
set fire to the town. Richard II, before setting- 
out on his dangerous encounter with Wat Tyler, 
went to confession to the anchoret in West- 
minster Abbey. It is probable that these holy 
men were often spiritual directors, while, as wa 
shall presently sec, many souls in sorrow and 
trouble, came to the window of the maiden an* 
choress for advice and consolation. It is trua 
that from their very position the recluses were 
exposed to g-reat temptationSn Sometimes hypo- 
crites were to be found among them, as is known 

* Many oflbese particulars are lakeri frorn the very inlercsl' 
ing- ticcouni of tli* AachorcU in Dr Rock'o *' Churcb of our 


of Mediaeval England 

6rom the life of St Stephen of Obazine, where 

we bear of a pretended anchoret who decamped 
with Slims of money entrusted to him. The 
life is more iotelligiblc in the case of a priest 
who had the adorable Sacrifice to offer up, 
confessions to hear, and Ofiice to recite; but 
what would be ihe occupation of the hearts and 
brains of many an English maiden during the 
long days and nights which she thus spent in 
the narrow circle of the four walls which thus 
encaged her i What spells did she use to cool 
the restless fever in her veins i This is revealed 
10 us by those treatises which we are now to 

The first is the ^'Ancren Riwle/' a book 
for anchoresses, first published by the Camden 
Socie^- The authorship of this remarkable 
book IS very uncertain, or rather it is unknown. 
There is not a vestige of evidence to connect 
it with St Richard of Chichepter, to whom it 
has been ascribed. On the faith of a manu- 
KTiptt it has been assigned to Simon of Ghent, 
Bishop of Salisbury, and supposed Co have been 
written by hina for some sisters living at Taranl 
in Dorsetshire. It has also been contended that 
Richard Poore, Bishop of the same See, was its 
author. The oniy thing that is certain is that 
it was written by a Dominican, for the list of 
prayers which the writer enumerates as having 
been in use among the lay brothers of his Order, 
ar© nearly identical with those ordered in the 
Rule of St Dominic* As the Black Friars did 
not come to England till isii, the book could 
Dot have been originally written for the sisters 

*CoAp&fV ** Ancren KiwLe," p. 34, with Brackie. torn. IV, 
111. Il ia ]d»o plain, from p 3S cf Ihr HivvLa, thAl tht auttior 
did am b?Jieve the ImmacuLACc Concepticn. 

The Spiritual Life 

at Tarant, who before tliat date are known to 
have been Cistercians and not recluses ; nor can 
one of the above-named prelates be its author, 
for they never belonged to the Order. Who- 
ever was its author, it is evident that it must 
have been written before French bad penetrated 
to any great extent into the English ton^e, 
A few such expressions as Deulefet (Dieu le faitj 
and ■* sot " (foolish), show the presence of the 
Norman; and '* annul" proves how early an 
importation from France was weariness of 
spirit in England. But the newness of words 
of French ori gi n proves how 1 i tt I e two cen- 
turies of Norman rule had succeeded in Ro- 
manizing the old language of the Saxon. 
Though the recluses Co whom the book is ad- 
dressed evidently could read French, yet the 
whole language and lone of thought is essen- 
tially English, The anchoresses, then, were 
English girls, in the thirteenth century. Their 
very names are unknown, though at that time, 
probably in the reign of our Henry III. their 
renunciation of the world was much spoken of 
among our ancestors, *' Much word is of you, 
how gentle women ye be, for godliness and for 
nobleness yearned after by many; sisters of 
one father and one mother, in the blossom of 
your youth having forsaken all the world's 
blisses, and become anchoresses.'* A rich 
neighbour sent them all necessaries "from his 
hall.** They had maidens to wait upon them, 
and to provide all that they wanted from with- 
out. They themselves, however* never stepped 
beyond the threshold of their hermitage. One 
wmJow looked into the church, and from thence 
they assisted at the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, 
At another window, answering to the grill ot 

of Mediaeval England 


an enclosed convenr, they gave audience to 
visitors; but from the moment of their seclu- 
Bion they never left their house, till they were 
carried out for burmh 

What could be the meaning of this apparition 
in the bustling' limes of the thirteenth centuiy ? 
Though society was gradually settling down^ yet 
it was a restless age. Men did not travel for 
pleasure, nor were there yearly migratinns to the 
seaside ; yet there was still a good de^l of wan- 
dcrirg. The great migrations of nations were 
over long befon^, and the majority of the agri- 
cultural population was still practically tied \o 
the soil ; yet crusades and pilgrimages often 
drew men to the far East and across the Alps. 
The scholar wander*;d from university to uni- 
versity for knowledge; the merchant was not 
lied to his desk, but travelled from fair to fair 
with all his precious wares; the minstrel dis- 
seminated news, and sung' his ballads. There 
was a world then, with pomps and vanities, as 
there is row ; a gay, parti -co loured, motley 
world, at which the Church frowned and preach- 
ed. The eternal war between God and the 
world was going on. It is quite true there was 
less of the chronic excitement which is row 
wearing' the strength ot souls with its wasting 
fever Pleasures were intermittent, and life more 
even.' Balls were few, and generally took place 
in the daytime ; public tournaments were few 
v\d far between. Yet society was still heaving 
with conflicting elements. Archbishops were 
often in exile; Emperors were under the ban 
of the Chui*ch; the Pope himself oftener in 
Viterbo than in Rome, Hnglish barons were 
harassing their king with Oxford Provisions] 


The Spiritual Life 

Simon de Montfort was devising a real English 
Parliament where llie middle classes were re*J 
presented. All the while these maidens of the) 
period were praying to God day and night. 

This is the secret of their life. Whereveri 
men believe in prayer, you are sure to have 
the monastic life in some shape or other. If they 
have none, they will soon cease to believe in 
prayer, as is fast becoming the case in all Pro- 
testant countries. Wherever the Christian idea 
is strong, men who are by their position neces- 
sarily involved in the strife of the world will 
be glad to know that men and women who 
are separated from its turmoils and its sins 
are offering prayers to God for them. 

It is plain that such was the occupation, and 
such the idea of the anchoress. It is also true 
that they did a great deal more than pray- 
The very dangers against which the author of 
her rule warns her are a procf that all had 
many visitors. He warns her against becoming 
a "babbling" or "gossiping anchoress/' a varie- 
ty of the species evidently drawn from the life; 
a recluse whose cell was the depository of all the 
news of the neighbourhood at a lime when 
newspapers did not exist. Her habitation is 
not to be the storehouse where the neighbours 
placed objects of value, that Ihey might be safe 
from the robber's hand. All this proves thai the 
good anchoress had means of exercising charity 
towards her fellow creatures. Many a sorrowing 
soul came lo the window, and received balm for 
her wounded spirit from behind the black cur- 
lain and the white cross which hung there. 
Through her ser\-ants she might even practise 
hospitality to those who wanteil it, and they 
might act &s school-mistresses to little girls 

of Mediaeval England 


who otherwise would frequenl schools were boys 
were taught> AJi this is quite true, yet it ia 
plain that the chief business of the anchoress 
was prayer. 

It is very difficult for men living in the 
modern world to understand a life of prayer i 
yet they mu5t accept it as a real fact. Thou- 
sands of Christians have lived such a life with- 
out becoming either praying machines like the 
RuddhiaU or fakirs like the Bralirains. The 
principle of Christian a^cetism is as far apart 
from ManicheUm as possible. It U simply the 
principle of expiatory suffering and prayer in- 
volved in the very ideo of the sacrifice of Christ* 
The gulf which separates the archoress from the 
fanatic Is the love of Jesus. Of course this is 
nothing new to Catholics. Yel T think that even 
Catholics are not aware to what extent this is 
true of mediaeval devotion, and above all of 
England. Looking at the England of to-day 
it is very difficult lo realize the fact that, whilst 
such a feeling towards our Lord is the ve^ 
foundation of all Christian devotion, there is 
undoubtedly a kind of lender, pathetic love 
which is to be found in old Enj^lish writers, 
and which is peculiarly their own. If 1 were 
asked to select the grace which is prominent in 
their writings, I should say that it was piety in 
the sense in which the word is applied to the gift 
of the Holy Ghost, The literature which is now 
before us is an excellent specimen of this spirit, 
because of the great mterior freedom which was 
allowed to anchorets- They were less liturgical, 
and had fewer regulations than the religious 
Orders, "In this wise," says the Rule, ^'an- 
swer to him that asketh you of your Order, 
and whether it is white or biack; say that 


The Spiritual Life 

ye are both, through the grace of God, of 
St James's order, about which he wrote, Im- 
macufatum se atstodire ah hoc s/pcnh. that is, 
as I said before, 'P^rom the world to keep him- 
self clean and unstained.' Herein is religion,i 
and not in the white hood nor in the black, nor 
in the white nor Jn the grrey cowh Thus it is 
in a convent ; but wherever liveth or 
man liveth by himself alone, eremite or anchoret, 
on outward things whereof no scandal comeih, 
he need lay little stress."* The anchoress had 
no peculiar habit, and her office was, as has been 
said, not that of the choir, but that of the lay 
brothers. She is encouraged to say Eng-lish 
praj-ers.t At midday she made a meditation on 
the crucifix. Holy meditations are especially 
recommended to her.J Though, according to 
the practice of the Church at the time, she made 
only fifteen Communions a year, yet there Js a 
marked devotion to the Blessed Sacrament 
tKroughout the treatise. Its perpetual presence 
in the church is held out as a refuge against 
temptation, and it is plain that from the window 
which looked into the rhurch, the anchoress 
often knelt in prayer, with her eyes fixed upon 
the altar where Jesus lay in the Sacrament of 
His love. Let me give a few specimens of these 
meditations of the thirteenth ceulury. These 
then were the veritable thoughts which went 
through the hearts of English anchoresses as 
they knelt before the crucifix live hundred 
years ago : 

''Jesus, true God! God's Son! Jesus, true 
God, true Man ! Man, maiden-born ! Jesus, my 
holy love, my own sweetness I Jesus, mine 
heart, my joy, my soul's health I Jesus, sweet! 

' Ancren Kiwlc, p. J ^ t P> 19^. {P. £^ 1 . 

of Mediaeval Eng:Iand 


Jesu&i my love, my lig^ht, my healing oii^ my 
honey-drop ! Tliou all ihat 1 hope in! Jrsus, 
my weal, my winsomeness, blithe bliss of my 
breast! Jesus, teach me that Thou art so soft, 
and so sweet, yez, too, so lovely and so love- 
some that Ihe Ang^ela ever behold Thee, and yet 
are never full of looking on Thee! Jesus, all 
fair, before whom the sun is but a shadow, for 
she loscih her liglii and beconieth ashamed of 
her darkness before Thy bright face. Thou that 
givest her light, and whose is all that bright- 
ness, enlighten my dark heart. Give brightness 
to Thy bower, even my aoul that is sooty. Make 
her worthy to be Thy sweet abode. Kindle me 
with the blaze of Thy enlightening love> Let 
me be Thy bride, and leam me to love Thee, 
the loving Lord! Wo that I am so strange 
with Thee; but as Thou hast bodily separated 
me from the world, separate me elce in heart ; 
lum me altogether to Thee, with true love and 
belief/' • 

In another place, after a beautiful and minute 
description of the crucifixion, and how the '* hell- 
baims" betrayed and crucified Him, she breaks 
out: ^'Ah! Jesus, my life's love, what heart is 
there that will not break when he thinketh here- 
of; how Thou, that art the Saviour of mankind, 
And the remedy for all bales, didst thole such 
shame for the honour of mankind- Men speak 
oft of wonders and of strange things divers and 
manifold that have befallen, but this was the 
greatest wonder that ever befell upon earth. 
Yea. wonder above wonders that that re- 
nowned Kaiser, crowned in Heaven, maker of 
all that is made, to honour His foes would 

• Thii interpret Alien la ntthcr diflfercnl from lh»t of the 
lESmrd imiulatcr of tlic " Riule." 

hang: between two thieves. Ah, how can I 
live for ruth that see my darling on the rood, 
and His limbs so drawn that I may tell each 
bone in His body ! Ah, how do they now drive 
the iron nails through Thy fair hands into the 
hard rood and through Thy noble feet ! Ah, 
row from tho^e hands ajid feet so lovely streami 
the blood so niefuUy ! Ah, now they offer to 
my lovCj who says He thirsts, two evil drinks 
in His blood-letting, vinegar, sourest of all 
drinks, mingled with ^aU, that is the bitterest 
of all things I Ah, now> sweet Jesus, yet be- 
sides all Thy woe, to eke it out with shame and 
mockery, they laugh Thee to scorn when Thou 
hangest on the rood I Ah, that lovely body 
that bangs so ruefully, so bloody, and so cold I 
Ah, how shall I live, for now dies my love for 
me on the dear rood, hangs down His head, and 
sends forth His soul ? But it seems to them that 
He is not yet iully tormented, nor will Ihey let 
the pitiful body rest in peace. They bring foi 
Lon^mus with the broad sharp spean He pierci 
His side, cleaves the heart, and there come floi 
ing out of that wide wound the Blood that boughl 
us, the water that washes the world of guilt ai 
sin. Ah, sweet Jesus, Thou opene^t for me Th] 
hearl, that 1 may know Tbee truly, for thei 
I may openly see how much Thou lovedst mi 
With wrong should I refuse Thee ray hei 
since Thou hast bought heart for heart. Jesi 
sweet Jesus, thus Thou fout«htest for me agaim 
my aoul's foes. Thou didst settle the conte; 
for me with Thy body, and hast made of mi 
a wretch, Thy beloved and ITiy spouse^ Brougl 
Thou hast me from thf* world to Thy bowi 
1 may there so sweetly kiss Thee, and embrai 
Thee, and of Thy love have ghostly llkinj 

of Mediaeval England 


What may I suffer for Thee for all that Thou 
didst thole [endure] for me? But it is well for 
me that Thou be easy to satisfy, A wretched 
body and d weak I bear upon earth, and that, 
such as it is, I have given Thee and will give 
Thee to Thy senrice. Let my body hang with 
Thy body nailed on the rood, and enclosed with- 
in four walls, and hang I will with Thee, and 
never more leave my cross till that I die." 

These extracts suffice to give us an insight 

into the inner life of the anchoresses of the 

thirteenth century. They were supported in 

their lon^ imprisonment by the love of our 

Lord, Their thoughts were fed by the image 

&f Jesus, This is expressed in characteristic 

vords: "After the dfath of an earnest knight 

man hangeth high in church his shield to his 

meraory. All so is this shield, that is, the 

cnicifix, set in church in such place that it 

in»y soonest be seen, for to think thereby on 

the kfiightship of Jesus Christ which He did 

on the rood/' Here is evidently a passionate, 

thivilrous love of our Lord. The Rule is very 

"'" of child-like pietj-, and at the same time of 

common sense. Its whole tone is as 

different as possible from that of the hermit of 

fancy. There ore no images of Alexan- 

orgies, no hobgoblins worse than the an- 

is's cat, which is especially exempt from 

the ban which proscribes pet animals,* She 

>( nothing but a simple girl, who has given up 

fee free Jife of English country maidens for the 

bve of Christ. 

Very difEerent is the next anchoress who 
tones under our consideration. One of the 
&05t rem arkable books of the Middle Ages Is 



The Spiritual Life 


the hitherto almost unknown work called "Six- 
teen Revelations of Divine Love made to a de- 
vout servant of our L-ord, called Mother Juliana, 
an Aiichoress of Norwich." * It contains visions 
and passages of such beauty as to rival the reve- 
lations of the Blessed Angela of Foligno. We 
shall find it well worth studying. 

But little is known of Mother Juliana. Her 
very name has been hitherto unnoticed. It ap- 
pearSj however, most probable that she is the 
Juliana Lampit to whom a knight, Shakespeare's 
'* good Sir Thomas Erpingham/' "i" who com-^ 
manded the English archers at Agincourt, left^ 
a legacy in his will in 1424. Her cell was at 
the east end of the church-yard of St Julian's 
Church at Norwich, t She weis thirty 3'ears old ■ 
and a half in May, TJ73, and, as she appears to 
have died in 1443, she must have lived to be 
a hundred. She thus lived through some of the 
most stirring times of English history. She saw 
Poitiers and Agincourt> and the death of Joan 
of Arc. 

Nothing can show more forcibly how pro- 



* BJomficId, in hia Nistttfy of l^arfoUt, p. j^fi, mentio 
a MS., apparcnlly ciislJiw in bis day, ana bdon^iir^ to 
clcr^niAh of the name of Pcch, ikullior of " The AnlictLJitica of 
Stamford." The book w&s firsl publi^liEd by CrCA&y ip 1670, • 
and rcprit^ted in 1S43, ^ 

t Sir TFiom^iq Erpinghsni ha^ ihe crtdil of having b«««.^| 
a parlisaa of WycliCfe. Thai for iw? nl3~-ei^hl yurs brJbre fat»^| 
drgth be was h koo'^ CHlholic is certain, Yruai Ihc ycer 1400 
he WAS Mri inliinite friend of the Hi^^liop af Norvichi Ihe gre«t 
enemy of 1h« Lollards H«! is sard tif hav« built & g'UTe at the 
n-esT end of the Cathedral au an alnnemenl for his ernjFS- I 
thp same wjll thert is b ItfAcy for Ma»«s for hii soul, an 
apcdal bequests to each Mouk. — BlnmRcldf ^72. 57^ 

t It ia true that Juliana Lampil is then: said to be tte 
chist of C»rrow {v, SlomBefd^ p, 51s)- Tbc church of St Julian, 
howevnr, belonged to (he mmnery of Carrow, and Iherefore ihc 
recluse might very well have been called by tbat nanie. — Pp. 
545* 54^> ^^> wh«re 7538 ia evidently a misprinl for 1418. 



of Mediaeval England xlx 

foundly ihe minds of men in the fourteenth cen- 
tury were stirred down to their lowest depths 
than the appearance in an ab^cure anchoress of 
those fundamental questions concerning good 
and evil, which, however laid to rest in limes 
of peaceful faith, are sure to start up afresh 
whene\"er the minds of rncn are strongly moved. 
We know that the llme was marlced by an out- 
burst of mystical life in Germany, and that 
Eckhart, Tauler and the Blessed Henry Suso are 
proofs of the existence of a deeply speculative 
as well as religious spirit ; but we were not pre- 
pared to find it in England, This is the more 
remarkable because there is no trace of any con- 
nexion between the German and Hnglish move- 
ment. In one short passage alone, Juliana, in 
the crude English expression, "unmade kind is 
God," * might seem to give utterance to the doc- 
trine so prominent in Eckhart that creatures, 
Gcmsidered as eternally present to God's mind, 
are identical with God. It was surh expressions 
as these which drew upon the Dominican the 
censure of the Church, which, after his sub- 
[ni&»ton, he modified, antl which reappear in 
wniers of his school, such as the Blessed Henry 
Skiso, but with explanations which render them 
harmless. Their occurrence in Mother Juliana 
b very remarkable. Wc might be tempted to 
suppose that they were an importation into 
Norwich through the immigration of Flemish 
weavers. We must, however, remember that 
this school of mysticitm^ represented by Ruys- 
brock, appeared later in Flanders than in the 
Rhineland. These views, then, are only another 
proof, among many, of the simultaneous appear- 
ance of ideas in places unconnected with each 

• P. T57- 


The Spiritual Lilc 

other. Like volcanoes, distant from each other, 
bursting- out into flame at one and the same 
moment, they reveal the existence of some fiery 
depths at work in the very heart of Christendom. 
In Juliana's mind^ however, this view of creation 
i& only subordinate to tliat which absorbs and 
agonizes her whole being — the mystery of the 
existence of sin. Like the faces of fiends which 
grin in stone down upon us from the roof of 
a Gothic cathedral, the thought haunted her cell 
and mocked her at her prayers. In her mind it 
does not lake the shape of the modem difficulty 
of the existence of suSering-, eternal or temporal 
It is true that even in this shape the difficulty 
was not entirely unknown to the Aliddle Ages. 
In Dante's great poem, for instance, the question 
of the eternal destiny of the heathen b treated 
with a. freedom which we should not have ex- 
pected. Even in the preceding century Brother 
Benhold is obliged to answer both popular and 
learned objections to the doctrine of everlasting 
punishment, ■ This, however, is never doubted 
by Mother Juliana. With her the difficulty is 
the possibility of the existence of such a horror 
as sin in creatures, which, even in the natural 
order, are so connected with God that in Him 
they " move and have their being." Above 
all, in the supernatural order, how could there 
be sin in souLs predestinated to heaven ? *' How 
may this be ? For I know by the common teach- 
ing of holy Church, and by mine own feeling, 
that the blame of our sins continually hangeih 
upon us from the first man unto the time when 
we come up mto Heaven. And between these 
two contraries my reason was greatly troubled 
' blindness, and could have no rest, for 


Pfeinrcr, p. j86. 

of Mediaeval England 


dread that Hi& bliv^-ful presence should pass 
from my sight, and I to be left in unknowing 
how He beheld us in our sin- My longing en- 
dured, Him cannnually beholding; and yet I 
could have no patience in great Tear and per- 
plexity/' Her mind is torn becau^ie she must 
hate sin, "as holy Church teachelli," yet that 
hateful thing exists in the predestinate-* In vaJn 
she lakes refuge in the views of the schoolmen 
that sin has " no manner of substance, ne no part 
of being, ne it might not be known but by the 
pain thereof." t It was but poor comfort that 
sin, being a deff^ct and therefore a negaiion, can 
be no object of cognition. The ftend was too 
powerful to be laid by metaphysical distinctions- 
Conscience and " the doom of the Church " 
alike cried out that it was a horrid fact, an 
■*ugly sight," and thai m^ny creatures *' shall 
be damned to Hell without aid, as holy Church 
leacheth me to believe,"^ The RgOT\y of soul 
still continued: "1 cried inwardly with all my 
might, seeking unto God for lielp, moaning 
thus; *Ah! Lord Jesus, King of bliss, liow shall 

This is very different from the "Ancren 
Riwle/' There we saw none but the ordinary 
tunptations of the soul, '*lhe world and the 
flesh." Here is a soul racked by the a^ony of 
perplexity, torn b}' the throes of doubt, li is not 
the fruit of modern scepticism, "the spirit which 
always contradicls." She take^ for granted all 
Ihe grand mvsteries of Heaven and earth. It is 
this very certainty which causes intolerable pain< 
This soul has a tremendous grasp of the reality 
of God, which she expresses with terse energy- 
"The Trinitie is God," she exclaims, "God is 

• p. 110, tF. 6j. 


i F. II I. 


The Spirilual Lift 

the Trinitie, the Trinitie is our maker, the 
Tnnitie is our keeper, the Triniiie Is our ever- 
lasting lover, the Triniiie is our endless joy and 
our blisse, by our Lord Jesus Christ, and in 
our Lord Jesus Christ ; and this was showed 
in the first sight (visionj and in all. For when 
Jesus appeareth, the Blessed Trinity is under- 
stood aa unto my sight,"" Yet with all this, 
there was that "ugly sight" of sin, obscuring 
the very face of God, shaking " the holy Church 
in sorrow and anguish and inbulation, a^ men 
shaketh a cloth in the wind,"t coming like a 
dark doud bttween her and the cruciiis. Truly 
here is an anchoress worth studying, if only 
because it gives us a new and unexpected in- 
sight into the mediaeval time. 

The fact is hers was a dismal age. The 
more we study historj', the more preposterous 
it seems to lump together into one the whole 
of those ages commonly called the Ages of 
Faith. There is as much difference between 
the twelfth and fourteenth centuries as between 
the fourteenth and the nineteenth. The power 
of the Church throughout the Middle Ages has 
certainly been much exaggerated. There were 
continual fluctuations of victorj' and defeat. Even 
in the thirteenth century she was by no means 
omnipotent; certainly at the beginning of the 
fourteenth her influence was sensibly mowing 
less, I wish, however, just now especially to 
point out that, simultaneously with the herce 
attack of Europe on the Papacy, of which the 
treatment of Boniface VlII by Philip the Fair 
was the beginning, there came an undoubted 
outburst of sin, a marked progress in vice, Ic 
is absurd to look for the cause of this en 


t p. 63, 

of Mediaeval England 


in the Papacy itself Boniface laid claim to 
nothing whatsoever which was not sucesafuJiy 
claimed by Innocent III. The causes were to 
bo found in society itself, in profound social 
changes which were bringing on political revolu- 
tions. The unchri^^tian principles which from 
the first were contained in chivalry, its courts 
of love, and its impure literature, were now 
getting entirely the upper hand over its high 
and virtuous ideal. The germ of all this wicked- 
ness had been ai an early period brought over 
to England by the Queen of Henry II, the 
Kleanor of the South of France, Since John 
England had been ruled by men who, with all 
their faults, were good and religious — Henry, 
Dante's "king of simple life,"* and the noble 
Edivard, hia son ; but the brilliancy of Cressy 
and Poitiers cannot blind us to the licentious- 
ness of the court of Edward III, even though we 
disbelieve the common story of his affection for 
the Countess of Salisbury. Minute details on 
the subject of dress and manners, from con- 
temporaries of Mother Juliana, come to us from 
too many sources to leave a doubt on the de- 
generacy of the times. The dress and demeanour 
of the ladies of the upper classes scandalized the 
people, and were a distinct charge for the worse, 
" In these days," says Knighton, " arose a mur- 
mur and clamour among the people, that when- 
ever there was a tournament, there came a great 
concourse of ladies of the court, costly and 
beautiful, but not of the best of the kingdom, in 
divers and wonderful rich apparel, in divided 
tunics, one part of one colour and one of another, 
with short caps and bands in the manner of cords 
wound round the head, and zones well bound 

• Pttrg, vl'u 


Th€ Spiritual Life 

round with gold or silver^ and in pouche?> across 
their bodies knives called dagg-ers, and thus they 
proceeded on chosen coursers or vvtll-governed 
horses to the place of tournament; and so ex- 
pended and devastated their g-^ods, and vexed 
their bodies with scurrilous wantonness, that the 
rounrmrs of the people sounded everywhere; and 
thus they neither feared God nor blushed at the 
chaste voice of the people,"* Evidently these 
ladies of the period were worse than their grand- 
mothers. Let any one call to mind the Parson's 
sermon in the "Canterbury Tales," and he will 
see that this immodesty continued in the rei^ 
of Richard II, This change of manners was, 
however, by no means confined to England. 
Loud complaints arose from every land in 
Europe. X3antc's sad and beautiful description 
of the simplirity of the old Florentine life which 
he had known in his early years, ond his In- 
dicant lines against the low dresses introduced 
among the Florentine ladies of the fourteenth 
century,! are too precise to allow us to suppose 
thera to be the product of a morbid mind. The 
sober prose of the chronicle bears out the langu- 
age of the poet- *■ People at this time," says tbe 
Roman anllior of Rienzi's life, " be^an to change 
much in their habits, both in dresi and conduct/' 
Documents from Pavia, Piacenza and Milan 
bear witness to the same chang-e for the worse, 
especially in the modesty of the young'. J As for 
France, the universal voice accuses it of being 
the centre of corruption and vice. Already, at 
the end of the preceding century, a preacher of 
the south of France attacks customs which 

' Quotpd in Longman'? Jidaord I//, i. 29^ 

"f" Compare Ph^k- =J ^itI ^*i"- 'Si 1*- 

T Cacll, Jiisfoirc ^ts Italtenr, lorn. 7, c. 1 7J, 

of Mediaeval England 


only appeared later elsewhere.' Villani traces 
Florentine dea;eiieracy to the visit of the French 
in 1 38^-t The same deg^eneracy appears in 
Germany. Landino, a commentator on Dante, 
mentions a circumstance of German life which 
resembles St Chry^ostom's invectives against the 
ptjblic baths of ihe Eastern Hmpire. The whole 
subject is thus summed upby a competent writer* : 
*' Since the end of the thirteenth century the 
comfort and material prosperity of all classes in 
Italy, the Netherlands, France and Germany 
were much greater owing' to the spread of com- 
merre and intercourse. On all sides are seen a 
tendency to Luxury and a rapid chang-e of fashion 
which already, under Philip IV, called forth a 
formal sumptuary ordinance for the nobility, 
clergy and citizens." It wa.s just one of those 
periods in which the heart of Christians like 
Mother Juliana are profoundly stirred by the 
5igfht of the increasing wickedness of mankind. 
Nor need we wonder that the knowledge of 
the wickedness of the world should have reached 
the cell of the recluj^e. It so happens that the 
anchoress lived in the centre of these political 
revolutions, which were the re^iult of this very 
degeneracy of chivalry. Norwicli, with its 60,000 
inhabitants, was the second city in the Idng'dom, 
and represented more interests than even Lon- 
don. No one can fail to have been struck with, 
the prominence ol financial details in the annals 
of the T€\gn of Edward III. The great conqueror 
is forced to leave his great crown and his little 
crown and his Queen's crown in pledge, and his 
nobles as hostages for his debts, before he can set 
&&tl from the continent and return to his own 

• Chitire F'an^aitf at! .5/of/»« Age. P. 40^ f Caul A, [bid, 
; Scbwsih, Joharrcs tjer*on, p^ 3S. 

XX vi 

The Spiritual Life 

kingdom. A great part of Ms revenues came 
from taxes on wool^ and as Norwich was the 
great seat of woollen manufaclurES, it acquired 
an immense preponderance in an age when al- 
most daily alternations between protectionist 
and free-trade principles prove the attention 
paid to it3 peculiar branch of commerce. The 
cliy was therefore always profoundly stirred by 
England's revolutions, and wild storms surg"ed 
up to the \ery doors of the eel! of the Anchoress 
of Carrow, Every party in the realm was re- 
presented there. About seventy years before 
Juliana's birth there had been fighting in the 
streets between the partisans of the Abbey and 
the citizens. The old-world privileges of the 
Church, given in times when the monks were 
almost the only agriculturists, became galling 
to the rich wool- merchants of Norwich, and 
a bloody fight had been the result. The agi- 
tation had, however, worked deeper down; and 
a lower stratum of society was in process of 
upheaval. In the great insurrection of 13B1 tlie 
French Revolution had been well-nigh antici- 
pated. Two elements of strife were at work, and 
each affected Norwich, First there was the re- 
bellion of labour against property. The awful 
visitation of the Black Death had carried off 
a vast proportion of the ill-fed, comfortless 
villains. The result was a great rise in wages, 
which Parliament attempted to keep down by 
legislation. This produced a long strike among 
the labourers, who fled from the uncultivated fields 
and flocked into the towns. From one single 
manor, that of Cossey, no fewer than eighteen 
vilJains in one year fled to Norwich; out of 
these eight received their freedom on the plea 
of their having had a domicile for a year and 

of Mediaeval England 

XXV li 

a day. This occurred earlier in the century, 
but by Juliana's lime hundreds must thus have 
been lurned into free manufacturers instead of 
serfs. In ihac one ciiy there were oongrei^ated 
all the conflicting elements of society — the rich 
Abbey, the wealthy merchant, the Flemish 
manuiacturer and the &eed serf. This of it- 
self, however, might have been insufficient to 
raise the Etorm if it had not been for a cause 
to which I have adverted. The increasing and 
ruinous luxury of the nobles produced a grind- 
ing' oppression of the poor. This had always 
been contained in the bosom of feudalism. In 
that system those who were not possessors of 
land, the villains and the serfs, had but little 
to trust to but the conscience of their lord and 
the customs which regulated their services. As 
long as the lord had comparatively simple wants, 
the serf was less oppressed. But when a licen- 
tious court showed an example of prodigality. 
the infection spread through the whole of the 
feutjal hierarchy. The knight still swore to de- 
fend the poor and the oppressed, but when he 
wanted money for his multiplied needs, the 
temptation to wring it out of the vassal was 
too strong to be resisted- Here again we have 
a cloud of witnesses from all sides. The evil 
had begun eariier in France. "The order of 
knighthood,'* says James of Vilry in a sermon, 
**is now-a-days m many cases corrupt ; they use 
their strength like hjrious madmen. Many harry 
iheir vassals by cerv^^s, as they are called, and 
give them no bread to eat/' ■ ** Let the serf be 
too happy that I have left him his calf and 
spared h\s life," ^aid a nobleman, who had 
"" n's cow. Matters bad 

poor ma 

become ten times worse at the period of which 
we are writing. The world had less conscience, 
and there are fewer stories on record of the 
signal punishment of the oppressor, ''Jacques 
Bonhomme wi]l not pull out his purse unless 
you beat him, but Jacqties Bonhomme will pull 
out his purse because hewjll be beaten," was the 
commori talk," Jacques Bonhomme took a fearful 
Teveng;e. The horrible rebellion of the Jacquerie 
was the result. In England it took a longer 
lime to stir up these elements of horror There 
was a better feeling amongst us. and the Com- 
mons in the Good Parliament: presented a peti- 
tion for a law to forbid ths lords ot the demesnes 
to exercise sovereign aulhorit/ by taxing the 
villain. t The king- answered that he would act 
as seemed good to hira. The answer cost Eng- 
land a civil war. Six years later London was 
in the hands of Wat Tyler at the head of the 
Kentish serfs, and the blood of the Archbishop 
of Canterbury stained the streets of tho city. 
Men perpetraieti horrible crimes, but they were 
maddened by an unjust tax^ levied by officials 
wiio irsulled the honour of those who were 
nearest and dearest to iliem. Here ag-ain Nor- 
wich was in the midst of the light. A dyer of 
Norwich was at the head of the peasants, and 
its Bishop, of the noble house of Spencer, in 
full armour, with a few lancers, rode and hewed 
do^yn the insurg;enl£, and arrested their leader- 
While all these horrors were enacted at the city 
gates, Juliana was leading her life of miraculous 
prayer. Amidst decaying chivalry and chaotic 
revolt the saints of God were suffering^, Ii is 
remarkable that on the same blood-stained flats 
of Norfolk, over which formerly, in quieter times, 

• Lon^rman"* Life tif£d%^rd Hi, ii, 54. t Ibkl-, ^^ 

o( Mediaeval England 


St Walstan, of the royal house of Cedric, had 
driven the plough as a poor labourer, now in 
liiis most troubled century, an Eng^lish peasant 
maiden, Jane the Meatless, was adoriiig and 
lovinff the Blessed Sacrament, which for many 
years was almost her only food. 

Into this witch's cauldron was thrown another 
ingredient. Up to this time Europe can hardly 
be &aid lo have given birth lo an indigenoir* 
heresy. Such errors as those of Berengarius 
and Gilbert de la Por6e were chiefly confined 
to the schools, and only aflected the laity in 
a comparatively small degree. Heresies of the 
Albtgensian class were the descentiants of 
Gnostics and Manichees.* Public opinion was 
against thein, and the very jongleurs in their 
songs satirized the Vaudois. We find, however, 
in Uie fourteenth cerlury the beginning of a dis- 
tinct revolt of the cultivated cl:is£ against Chris- 
tianit}'. They are already numerous enough to 
fill iho sixth circle of Dame's HelU In the case 
{►f Fredrick II it was stJU possible to refer his 
scepticism to what has been well called Ghi- 
belHne culture. But now out of the dismal 
Imnba arise at once spirits who belonged lo 
both the great parlies of the lime. Farinata 
was a Ghibelline, Cavalcante was a Guelph. 
Hitherto England had been singularly free from 
ictelleciual revolts against the Church. The Do- 
minican author of the ** Ancren BJwle" thanks 
God that England is free from heresy. In Mother 
Jctliana's lime, however, the land was stained 
vitb native error. It is to the disgrace of Wy- 
cliflfe that while he taught doctrines which, not- 

' It in tmel^t Malcspina mcuLioni Epicureans iMuratori, B, 

SL CWBl III '!>< Countesa MalJIiJa's Ume, t>til ihcrc Bccm lo 
tbcen heretics of an otJer type to whom Makapma gives 
i "T wan ^cuUiaf l« hinuKlL 


The Spiritual Life 

withstanding' his disclaimers, struck at the root 
of all property, he played into the hands of the 
party of the rapacious nobles, headed by the 
Duke of Lancaster. The citizens of London rose 
in disgxist against the priest who insulted their 
bishop and was protected by the man who was 
the defender of abuses, which the Black Prince 
rose from his bed of death to oppose in his place 
in Parliament. We have not, however, anything 
to do with Wydiffe's social views. I must ad- 
vert to the speculative part of his system in order 
to contrast it with that of the recluse oF Norwich, 
for there is sometimes a coincidence of language 
which might deceive the unwary. Little do they 
know of Wyclifie who look upon him as a sort of 
modem Evangelical because he translated the 
bible and abused the mendicant Orders. That 
lie was a moming-star of the Reformation we 
have no difficulty in allowing, a fitting Lucifer 
for such a day. Some writers have connected 
him with Ockham, because Merton College 
had the honour of producing both. In point of 
fact, the two doctors were at the very opposite 
extremes of the poles of scholastic thought. 
Wycliffe identifies nominalism with heresy and 
held lealism in its most intrepid form. "We 
meet in him," says a Protestant writer, "with 
elements which in their logical evclulicn would 
have led to Pantheism." What they did lead to, 
according to the same authority, was **a denial 
of free-wiU " in God and man. So thoroughly 
and absolutely did he identify in God the idea 
and the fact, the order of thoug-ht and the order 
of being, that he denies to God the conception 
of any possible things beyond what is or will be 
actual. Thus creation, present or future, is the 
measure of God's omnipotence. The old me- 

of Mediaeval England xxxi 

Uphysical bull-dog of the North coiintr)"^ the 
"quidam Borealis" of Walsirgrham, hung on 
with all his teeth to his premiases, in spite of 
the immorality of the conclusion, God, accord- 
ing lo h\ra, was neither more nor less free in 
the creation of the worid than in the g:eneralion 
of the Son, I need not say that this is direct 
Pantheism, since it makes the universe a ne- 
cessary part of God, Wycliffe saw and was 
not scared by the fearful danger of Ihrowing- 
the causality of evil upon God. He tries to 
escape from it, indeei!, by the scholastic view 
that sin is but a negation, and therefore cannot 
be the object of the Divine ideas. But he did 
not fear to say that all things happen by abso- 
lute necessity -• "Accordingly alL sin appears 
to him a necessary thing; all is required in 
order to the beauty of the universe/' This 
mtcfht have appeared at first sight as unintelli- 
gible nonsense, but it has bome a most bitter 
fruiL Unfortunately a good deal of what some 
are inclined to dismiss as metaphysical subtlety 
leads to endless misery, and turns lo vciy in- 
telligible blasphemy. The slightest acquain- 
tance with the schoolmen will enable us to see 
that Wycliffe's views are an audacious perver- 
sion of scholastic principles. His denial of 
possible things in God is a shameless use of 
St Thomas's " Actus Furus." and his theory of 
evil a still more shameless abuse of the view 
tfaat sin is a defect not a substance^ 

We are now in a condition to show how 

* Ncwid<r» «□!■ 'ix, p- xAi, Bohn'a ediiion. He appends Lhe 
follQirinp fH3tCt "Aiming ibc rcrlyrive aKidca lUribuUd to 
Wydiffe, (he propoailioo, * Omala de ncccsflitate absoluin 
rrnriinl,' migbt justly bf condecnii«d as on« Actually bplong-ing^ 
10 him." Neander 19 ay aulhrniry throihghoul, tor I am not 
iC^vtiared with WrclifTe'a wTiiingd, 

XXX u 

The Spiritual Life 

groundless is the notion that Mother Juliana's 

expressions in the least imply a tendency to 
the errors of Wydiffen Both fact and doctrine 
render such a notion preposterous. It so hap- 
pens that we have Walsinghain's testimony 
that *' Faith and religion remained inviolate in 
the diocese of Norwich.'* The martial prelate 
whom we met just now threatened to burn any 
Lollard whom he caught, and would, without 
doubtj have kept his word. The recluse was 
under ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and was too 
marked a person to escape if her works had had 
a really Wycilflite tendency. Furthermore, her 
tender deuotJon to our Lady, her reverence for 
the saints, her very mode of life rendered it im- 
possible. WvcHffe denied the necessity of con- 
fession, calls the canonization of saints blasphe- 
mous, and enclosure within stone walls a result 
of ** the cursed spirit of falsehood/" The only 
passag^es which would lend a colour to such an 
imputation on the recluse are those which we 
have already quoted, and others • which imply 
strong views about predestination, the impos- 
sibility of the ultimate fall of the elect, and the 
loving care of God for the souls of the elect if 
they fall into sin. All these coincidences only 
show how deeply the minds of men were stirred, 
since we find views on these subjects in the very 
cell of the recluse, it would be simple ignorance 
tn suppose that such thoughts were confined to 
Wyclitfe, and could only be derived from him, 
Bradwardine had already made them familiar. 
How far even the popular mind was tossed 
about by questions of free-will and grace is plain 
from the fact that in Chaucer the Nun's Priest 
mentions Eradwardine's book; and the existence 

* ForiaalADtC, p. ij)< 

of Mediaeval Eng:]and xxxill 

of these disputes is thus referred to a* well- 
known to an assembly such as that which com- 
posed the Canterbury Pilgrims, to mine host 
of the Tabard^ to the miller and the reeve. 

What has already been proved contrary to 
fact can still be shown to be impossible by a 
, comparison of doctrine. The few coincidences 
between Mother Juliana and Wycliffe axe among 
the many proofs that the same speculative view 
often means different things in different systems. 
Both St Augustine, Calvin and Mahomet believe 
in Predesiination, yet an Augustinian is some- 
thing uiterly different from a Scoich Cameronian 
or a Mahometan, The same words mean different 
things in the mouths of different people- The idea 
which runs through the whole of Mother Juliana \ 
is the very contradictory of WycIi£Fe"s Pantheis- 
tic Neces>tanarianism, The moment that a man 
beUeves in any real sense in a loving God he 
ceases to be a Pantheist- It is not enough to 
believe in a beneficent spirit, for universal bene- 
volence may be a blind impulse, but since love 
u a free gift of self, a spirit who can love is free, 
and a bein? who is free is at once personal." 
The very basis, however, and the essence of 
Mother Juliana's views are her belief in the 
lovinffness of God. Few since the beginning 
of Christianity have spoken of the love of God 
like this English recluse. After the agony of 
the black night of sin, her only consolation is 

* " WV premise ihia, that when vrt attribute Personality^ to 
Cod. vrt mlend to asseverate of Him nothing el^e ihan Thai He 
b a B#in^ (We&en) scparaled from all othrr cxiilence (Sein), 
•dtntaiitiii^, sfll^contclDii.t. jltiJ free." — Kitutgen. Tbealogic, 

' >i M9 Tq other wordih ihau^h frrccEom docj not tanslhiilc 
PcnooitliEy, yd ever)' (rec intdlccEua] being niJ»l be pcfsonal. 
l^bd. bccxuae ihc Sacred HumAnily wai free, il mubl ipso/apto 

L hdve pr^ne^fed a penonaUly, i^t., einCB it hid i>one of itJ own, 

■ 1^ E)f ibe Divide Word, 




The Spiritual Life 

to plungB into the great abyss of God'a love. 
" Thus Jesus Christ, that does g-ood again evil, 
is our very Mother We have our being of Him, 
where the ground of Motherhood heginneth, with 
all the sweet keeping of love that endlessly 
followeth. As verily as God is our Father, as 
verily b God our Mother ; and that showeth 
He in all; and namely in these sweet words 
there He saith, 'I it am,' that is to say, 'I it 
am, the might and the goodness of the Father- 
head ; X it amj the wisdom and the kindness of 
the Motherhead ; I It am, the light and the 
grace that is all blessed love; I it ara, the 
Trinity; I it am, the Unity; I it am, the high 
sovereign goodness of all manner things; I it 
am that maketh thee to long; I it am, the end- 
less fulfilling of all true desires.' Our high 
Father, Almighty God, which is being. He 
knoweth us and loved us from before any time. 
Of which knowing in His full deep marvellous 
charity, by the far-5eeing endless counsel of all 
the blessed Trinity, He would that the Second 
Person should become our Mother, our Brother, 
and our Saviour. Whereof it followeth that as 
verily as God is our Father, verily Grod is our 
Mother." In a perfect rapture of love, she 
goes on, " Our kind Mother, our gracious 
Mother, for He would all whole become our 
Mother in all things ; He took the ground of 
His work full low and full mildly in the maiden's 
womb. In this low place He arrayed Him, and 
dight Him all ready in our poor flesh> Himself 
to do the service and the ofE.ce of Motherhead 
in all things. We wit that all our mothers 
bear us to pain and to dying, WHiat is that 
but our very Mother Jesus ? He alone beareth 
ufi to joy and to endless living, bleued mote 

of Mediaeval England 


He be. Thus He sustained us with Him, in 
pain and travail, unto the full time that He 
would suffer the sharpest thorns and grievous 
paijis that ever were or ahall be, and died at 
the lasi. And when He had done and so borne 
us to bliss, yet mi^ht not ali this sufBce to H\s 
marveTIous love. And thai He showed in these 
high ever-passing' words of love, ' If I might 
ij^T more, I would suffer more/ He might 
no more die, but He would not stint working-. 
Wherefore Him behoveth to feed us, for the 
dear- worthy love of motherhood haih made 
Him debtor to us. The mother may give her 
child to 5uck her milk ; bu: our precious Mother 
Jesos, He may feed us with Himself and doth 
full continuously ard tenderly with the Blessed 
Sacrament, This is precious food of very life, and 
with all the sweet sacrament He sustaineth us 
full mercifully and graciously. And so He meant 
in these blessed words, when He said, *I it am 
ihac Holy Church preacheih thee and teachelh 
Ibee-' That is to say, all the health and life of 
the sacraments^ all the virtue and the grace of my 
word, all the goodness that is ordained in Holy 
Church to thee, I it am/ The mother may lay 
her child tenderly to her breast; but our tender 
Mother Jesus He may homely lead us into His 
blessed by His sweet open side, and show us 
there in party of the Uodhoad. And that showeth 
He in the ninth Revelation, giving the same 
understanding in His sweet word when He saith, 
*Lo how I love thec/"» This is the key-note 
of her whole book, the solution of all her donbts. 
She attempts no reasoning, and has no logical 
answer to her diflicjlties. She simply plunges 
mto the depths ji God's love. ** There I was 


The Spiritual Life 

learned that I should only enjoy in our blessed 
Saviour Jesus» and trust in Him for all things. 
And thus our good Lord answered to all questions 
and doubts that 1 might make, saying full com- 
fortably ; ' I may make all things well, and I c«i 
make all tilings well, and 1 shall make all things 
well* and I will make all things well, and thou 
shah see thyself that all manner of things shall 
be well." This, after all, is the sole refuge of 
poor humanity- Yet it is not a mere sentiment. 
It is based on a deep view of God's R^^at attri- 
butes. God is not merely a benevolent being. 
She distinguishes His pity from His love. Down 
in the depths of His eternity there has been 
a longing, which she calls " a ghostly thirst," 4. 
'* love-longing,"* "For as truly as there ij 
a property (attribute) in God of ruth and pity, as 
verily there is a property in God of thirst and 
longing. And this property of longing ajid 
thirst Cometh of the endless goodness of God; 
right as the property of piiy coraeth of His end- 
less goodness ; and though He have longing and 
pity, they are sundry properties [different attri- 
butes) as to my sight," 

Put thia side by side with Wycliffe's deep 
growl at abu'^es rather than sin, his heaven of 
brass, and his iron destiny; it looks like and is a 
different religion. Not only the feeling which 
actuates, but the intellectual basis which ani- 
mates it is the direct contradiction of his whole 
system. She belongs to the genuine school of 
English mystics which we have pointed ouL Her 
love for Jesus is of ihe same kind as that found in 
the"Ancren Riwle," The supernatural events 
of her life remind us of what has been often 
thought to be peculiar to Continental devotion. 

• P. 6?. 

of Mediaeval England xxxvU 

Here is a p(>or English recluse, who has vision* 
not unworthy ot being read by the side of those 
of her gpreat contemporarj', Si Catherine of Siena. 
This is a phase of English metlifcval life which 
we little suspected. Juliana is a recluse very 
different from the creatures of the imagiration of 
imters on comparative morals. bo far from 
being cut off from sympathy t^ith her kind, her 
mii^d is tenderly and delicately alive to every 
charge i a the spiritual atmosphere of Hrigland. 
Every storm was felt with an electric shock 
through her inmost being'. The earthquake 
cttuncil made the cell of the poor recluse rock to 
and fro as violencly as the stones of old St Paul's. 
The four walls of her narrow home seem to be 
rent and torn asunder, and not only England, 
but Christendom appears before her view/ It 
was not the crucifix which came before her in her 
visions, but the very form of the crucified Jesus, 
"with the plenteous bleeding* of the head, the 
great drops of blootl falling down from under the 
g-arland of thorns." And this was seen at 
Norwich, the En^-Iish Manchesier of the four- 
teenth centijrA\ when Cressy and Poiti-^rs were 
still fresh in men's minds, and the Black Prince 
was lying sick at Berkhampstead. Ac ihat lime 
England had not separaied itself from tlie great 
strtam of Christian life. 

A further proof the intimate connection be- 
tween the spiritual and social li'e of England is 
furnished us by the history of the remarkable 
treati^ to which this Essay serves as an intro- 
duction- The precise time when it was actually 
written is unknown : all that is certain is that the 

* How accessible wrrr ancUotc^sts Lo the influence of the 
MiCr world 15 prove J by the ciii lo^-S fact ihat I lie ancUorcs*i 
ti CiTQ«- was acIuaIIv ncrvrrled by BiJncy, and turned Pro- 


The Spiritual Life 

" Scale of Perfection " must have been writien 

beiore 1J951 when its autlior died. As Juliana's 
book was written in 1370, it is plain that there 
cannoi have been any great difference in date 
between the composition of the two works. It 
tells inucii ior the spiritual life of iingland that 
in the fourteenth century such a treatise as the 
** Scale of Perfection" should have been written. 
It is, however, to the subsequent history of the 
book that I wish to point rather than to its 
origin ; it so happens chat the period assigned 
for the commencement of Waiter Hdlon'a in- 
fluence coincides wUh tliat of the close of hf other 
Juliana's life.* Unlike Mother Juliana's book, 
which remained comparatively unknown, Walter 
Hilton's treatise evidently had a wide circtilaiion. 
The number of existing manuscripts scattered 
through various caihedral and oiher libraries 
bear witness to its popularityn It was translated 
into Latin by a Carmelite early in the iifteenlh 
century. It was high in repute with the Carthu- 
sians, and tins in itself is a guarantee of it6 being 
extensively read. No order was so respected in 
England and other Teutonic countries as the 
Carthusian, Those wlio speak most mournfully 
of the bad state of Christendom just before the 
Reformation, always make an honourable excep- 
tion of the sons of St Bruno. They were spiri- 
tual directors of Gerard Groot in the Low 
Countries, and of Colec, More and Fisher in 
England- One of their especial employments 
was the translation and propagation of good 
spiritual books, as we know from Surius» through 
whom Tauler and Henry Suso were made known 

* Btomfldili 546* AU thiil ia known ta that ahe was alive In 
•vm,i\ upQTi hor. 

of Mediaeval England 


to the Church in a Latin dre&s. Walter Hilton 
was the favourite author of Margaret, Countess 
of Richmond, the spiritual child of Fisher, The 
art of printing was as yet in its infancy when the 
"Scale of Perfection" was at once printed in 
black letter by Wynkyn de Worde, aniJ other 
editions rapidly appeared. This, then, is the re- 
marksLble fate of this book. A treatise on the 
spiritual life, orig^inally written by an obscure 
author in a small house of Augustinian Canons 
in Nottinghamshire and addressed to the most 
solitary of all the varieties of monastic life, is 
chosen to be the guide of good Christians in 
the courts of kings and in the world. Through- 
out the dismal wars of the Roses, and the more 
dismal reign of Henry VIII, many a heart was 
strengthened and consoled by Walter Hilton, 
The very copy still exists which must have been 
in the hands of the martyred Carthusians, the 
^cw from whose pallid faces lit up the cell of Sir 
Thomas More as he gazed down at them as they 
were dragged on the hurdle to execution. The 
selfsanie book was to be found in the palace of the 
mother of Henry VII. How she loved it. the rude 
lines in Wynkyn de Woide's edition will lesiifyr 

Tbii heavenly book iaor< pmclouB llun $old| 
Wa* l4lely directed vith g-real huioilily, 
For gt>dly pleasure fhi^reiii la beliald 
Umo the nghi, noble Margaret, as ye sttf 
The King's Molhcr of citiicElcnE bounly, 
Uju-4-y (be Sevenih, LhM Jesus him preserve. 
This m<k$Nly IVmcen? h'lth ccmmandcd me 
T" loipnflC Ehi4 bai>l£ her gncc for lo deftenr«. 

Now, all tills is very worthy of remark. Here 
li a book writcen f-T a rechise. yet printed and 
xecommended as a book of devotion, not for the 
dolsier, but for good Christians in the world. 


The Spiritual Life 

This is quite a new feature, and points at once to 
the fact that the interior life was spreadinjf in 
England. What is the significance of this fact* 
Enough has been already said to show that the 
religious life of the Middle Ages was not the 
formal ritualism which many have supposed. 
German scholars have done a vast deal to destroy 
this illusion by the publication of old religious 
books in the vernacular tongue. "VVe have only 
got to look at Mone's collection of mediasval 
hymns, and to observe the frequent notices of 
translations, not only into German, but into 
French and Italian, to be convinced that the 
songs of the Church were accessible to the poor, 
and even in common use amongst them in their 
own language. Jacopone de Todi's beautiful 
hymns are a proof of the popularity of spiritual 
songs other than the liturgical hymns of the 
Breviary. There are extant also hymns sung 
and prayers said in various languages — French, 
Provencal, German and English — to be used at 
the Elevation, the Holy Communion, and on 
various feasts." Didactic books of devotion in the 
vernacular tongue, such as Tauler's *' Nachfolge," 
"L'lntemelle Consolation." and in English the 
" Ayenbite of Inwit " or Remorse of Conscience 
prove that spiritual reading was practised. It is 
plain then that our mediaeval ancestors were by 
no means so chained lo the letter, so unspiritual 
as acme have supposed. Nevertheless it is true 
that the ^'Scale of Perfection " is a step forward^ 
indicating a greater spread of the spiritual life 
among Christians in the world. 

The fact is that there was arising, at the close 
of the feudal period, a npw clas^, which had to 
be legislated for. We often use the terms me- 

* V. M4D4, i, jS6, 9^f ^54, and Ancrei Rivlc- 

of Meciiaevat England 


diffival and modern without much reflection on 
the real difference between society as it was con- 
stituted then and now. The feudal sgciely was 
a great hierarchy of duties. Of course, wherever 
Christianity exists property mu&t involve duties; 
in the medieval lime property and duty were 
absolutely synonymous. Property was held on 
conditions of certain devices, and was forfeited 
when these were withheld. In theory the feudal 
sovereign was the owner of the soil, and the 
nobles held their lands of him on a definite 
tenure. Combined with this was the view that 
each noble was despotic on his own land, and 
admini&tered justice to the serfs who lived upon 
it. Horridly oppressive and tyrannical as the 
system became in fact, it was founded on the 
notion of reciprocal obligations. The noble de- 
fended and fought for the serf, who in his turn 
laboured for the lord. The consequence of this 
state of thing's was that there did not exist a 
^g:Ie man who had nothing to do. Indepen- 
dently of the absence of available wealth and of 
means of being' comfortable, the very fact of 
possessing something implied that a man must 
work. Every little lord who possessed as much 
a* a tower was fully occupied in the administra- 
tion of justice, in the g-ovemment of his vassals, 
and in atiual war or the keeping himself ready 
for it. Robbery, injustice and crime were very 
possible; idleness could not exist. The result of 
this was that there was no such thing as a class 
of persons in society who had a great deal of 
lime on their hands and were not compelled lo 
do anvthingf. In Times when money was scarce 
life was a sinigre'*!. 1-adies took a personal share 
in ih€ work of the kitchen, and overlooked their 
Krrants &om the gallery in the halh Even 


The SpIrHual Lite 

hunting was an occupation as well &s an amuse- 
ment ; men hunted stags for the sake of the 
venison, instead of foxes for the love of sport. 
The fish of the stream and the birds which were 
struck down by the hawk were ar object to the 
lord. Gardens and parks were few, and forests 
many. The marks of the plough can still be 
traced dose up to the ruined castle wall. Life 
was a inore earnest^ personal affair in the Middle 
Ages than now. 

Gradually this slate of things passed away. 
Warwick the King:-maker has been rightly called 
the last of the Barons. In Henry VI we may 
consider that we have the last of ine<ii*eva] kings. 
The Middle Ages find their euthanasia in this 
palHd, saintly moTiarch, just as a former state of 
thing's was closed by St Edward the Confetisor, 
Edward IV, the favourite of the citizens of Lon- 
don, brave, but unchivalrous, faithless, irreligious 
and unchaste, was a king of a far other type. 
The wars of the Roses utterly destroyed the old 
feudal baron. Men were hardly conscious of the 
change, and the Duke of Norfolk might still boast 
^< that he was as good as a king when he was on 
his oivn estate at Norwich." The dream cost 
hira his head. It was only gradually that men 
became aware of the vast, silent change which 
had been consummated. The feudal world had 
passed away, and modern society had taken its 
place- As tar as concerns us, the result is the 
total disruption of all necessary connection be- 
tween property arid occupation, the creation of 
a very large class of men and women who can 
live, if they pjlease, without doing- anything at 
all. 1 do not mean to say that any man brteath- 
ingr is born without duties ; but I mean that th^ro 
U a very large class of beings who can eatj drink 

of Mediaeval England 


ind perform all the functions of life whether they 
do their dunes or rot- 
It is evident that this state of thing^s requires 
something- peculiar to meet it. What is to be 
done with all this superfluity of unemployed life ? 
What is a man thu*i set fr^e from obligation to 
do with his time ? In the Middle Ages life itself 
imposed an unvarying rule of living'- Is man 
now to live without a rule i A thousand moral 
and religious questions start up and crv out for 
an answer. Things have become possible now 
which were not possible before. Men and women 
can spend their lives in an unvarying round of 
amusements and excitements, even without sup- 
posing them to seek vicious pleasures. Theatres, 
operas, balls^ novels — things unknown to their 
ancestors — may make up their life. Is this right ? 
Is it safe ^ A most momentous question this, 
which requires an answer. Here is a new thing 
upon earth, or at least a state of things which 
ha^ not existed since the Teutonic nations were 
converted — the upper classes of society able to 
Jiv« in a constant roimd of amusement, and 
thinking themselves satisfactorily sure of salva- 
tion, because of the liypothetical absence of great 
sin. Are linlimitcd balls and unlimited sacra- 
ments compatible? Or is a worldly life a peri- 
lous one lor those who live it ? Or rather ought 
not Christians to spend more time in prayer, in 
devotion, in voluntary almsgiving and works of 
charity, in proportion as they are set free from 
many duties ? Is not life more dangerous and 
salvation more insecure because of this terrible 
invasion of the world, with audacious require- 
ments and unblushing exigencies? Considering 
the cool impudence with which the world insists 
oa his Qwn iniiocence, nay, has even the imperti- 


The Spiritual Life 

nence to look upon its general mode of life as 
a duly to society, it does seem as if ill is new 
attitude of the world called for new rules and 
a greater strictness to counteract its dangers. 

Now, ilie "Scale of Perfection" is valuable 
because it is an English book containing an 
answer to this question. If not written for, it 
was at least adopted by an Engflish princess, 
a king-'s mother, living at court in the reign of 
Henry VIL In fact, it contains the old English 
Catholic view bffore Protestantism existed. The 
answer to the above question is unequivocal, and 
is contained in the following wordsi ' " When 
men and women who are free from worldly busi- 
nesses if they will, and may have their needful 
sustenance without much solicitude about it, 
especially religious men and women — and other 
men also in secular estate, that have good abili- 
ties and understanding, and may, if they will 
dispose themselves, ctune to much grace; these 
men are more to blame than those who are &o 
busied with worldly things which are so needful 
to be done. Verily it is perilous for a soul not to 
seek to make any further progress." The only 
sare thing is to "set his heiirt fully to come to 
more grace and give himself heartily to prayer, 
meditating and other gooil wishes," 

Such was the old Catholic life, before we were 
corrupted by the society of Protestants. The 
moral of the book is that a supernatural life is 
common to all Chri'-tians, and that there is no 
such infinite distinction between Christians in 
the world and religious. Both, in different de^ 
grees and modes, are not safe unless they aim 
at '* profiting in gr-ice." Of course, much in 
Walter Hilton's hook is inapplitable' to us, yet 

* P. 151. 

of Mediaeval Eng^Iand 


kU who are not repelled by the unusual English 
will find it a very beautiful spiritual treatise. It 
b not a regfimenial book, and contains few 
rules. No one will find in it "a rule of life." 
It is simply occupied in laying down principles, 
A booJc written in the fourteenth century cannot 
he expected to establish minute practical rules 
r the nineteenth. It will, however, be very 
uable as a specimen of the old traditional 
acholic spiritual life in England. The ba^is of 
spiritual life in all ages must after all be the 
me ; and this booki written so long ago in the 
g-otten house of Canons at Thurgarton, may 
pip us now in fighting our battle of hfe in this 
ry di^erent time. In this respect it will be 
lesson to us. Rather mystical than ascelical, 
contains an antidote to the prevailing tendency 
restless activity, even in devotion. Above all, 
is remarkable for containing the old English 
adition of a most tender, personal love for out 
es-c^ed Lord, 
Now that we are threatened by a great in- 
flux of Protestant morals, through the increasing 
intercourse of Catholics with the world, it will be 
well if this book reminds us of our past histoiy. 
The great apostasy of the Reformation could 
never have been successful if a terrible outbreak 
of woridliness had not sapped the first principles 
of Christian life among the nobility and gentry 
of England. Nothing will save us now in danger- 
ous times but the supernatural principles of our 
Paith carried out in our lives. 






Tlut the inward S(Ate oE the Soul should be like 
the ocitwArd 

5H0STLY Sister in Chnst Jesua, 1 pray thee that 
in the calling lo which our Lord hath called thee 
tor His service, thou rest contented, and a^bide 
COnnantly therein, travailing busily with all the 
pwera of thy soul to fulfil in truth of good life 
(by the grace of Jesus Christ) the state which thou 
W taken in exterior likeness and seeming ; and 
^ihou hast forsaken the world, as it were a dead 
f°^i], and turned to oiar Lord bodily in sight of 
1^% so thou be in thy heart as it were dead 
'oall tarthly loves and fears, and turned wholly 
^ our Lord Jesus Christ; for be thou well as- 
^f^ that a bodily turning to God without the 
Iwiart foUowing^ is but a figure and likeness of 
^if^ues, and not the truth in itself Wherefore 
^'etched men and women rare tht^y who, neglect- 
^"?lhe care of their interior, show only exteriorly 
^'orru and likeness of holinessi in habit or cloth- 
^l.\n speech and outward carriage and works, 


casting their eyes upon other men's deeds, and 
judging their defects, esteeming themselves to be 
something', when indeed they are just nothing, 
and so deceive themselves- Do not thou so ; but 
together with thy body turn principally ihy heart 
to Godj and frame thy interior to His likene 
by humility and charily and other spiritu 
virtues, and then art thou truly lumed to Him. 
I say not that thou mayest early on the first day 
be turned to Him in thy soul in perfection of 
virtues as thou mayest with thy body be enclosed 
in a house ; but my meaning* is, that thou 
shouldst know that the end of thy bodily en 
closure is that thou mightest thereby the bett 
come to a spiritual enclosure; and even as ch 
body is enclosed from bodily converse with meri 
even so thine heart might be enclosed from th 
inordinate loves and fears of all earthly things. 
And that thou mayest the better come thereto, 
I shall in this little treatise yield thee the 
instructions and helps Chat I know or can. 





Of the Active Life, and lh« Hxefcises and the Vor 

Thou Tnust understand that there are in the 
holy Church two manner of lives (as saith St 
Gregory) in which a Christian is to be sav 
The one is cailed Achve^ the other ConUmpiativs 
without living one of these two lives no man ma; 
be saved- The Active consisteth in love anil 
charity exercised exterioriy by good corporal 
works, in fulfilling of God's commandments and 
of the seven works of mercy, corporal and apiri- 


The First Book 

tual, towards our Christian bretliren. This life 
pertains to all worldly men that have riches and 
plenty of worldly goods to dispose of> and to all 
those (be they learned or unlearned, lay men or 
spiritual persons) that are in office or state to 
govern, or have care of others; and g-enerally 
all worldly men are bound to the practice of this 
kind of life according to their best knowledge 
and ability, and as rea&on and discretion shall 
require. If he much good have» then much good 
for to do ; if he little have, less may he do ; and 
if he naught have, then must he have a good 
will. Such works as these (be they corporal or 
spiritual] are works of the Achve life. Also a 
great part of it consisis in great bodily deeds 
which a man exerciseth upon himself, as great 
fasting, much watching, and other sharp penance, 
to chastise the flesh with discretion for sins 
formerly committed. As also to mortify there- 
by the lusts and liJcings of the flesh, and to 
make it pliable and obedient to the will of the 
writ. These works though they be but Active, 
they help very much, and dispose a man 
in the beginning to attain afterwards to con- 
templation, if they be used with discretioUp 


Oi ihc ContemplalLTC Life, and the Exerdsts and 
Works thereof 

COXTEMPU^TIVE life consisteth in perfect love 
and charity, felt inwardly by spiritual virtues; 
and in a true and certain sight and knowledge 
of God and spiritual matters. This life belongs 
to them especially who for the love of God for- 

The Scale of Perfection 

sake all worldly riches, honours, worships and 
outward businesses, and wholly give themselves 
soul and body (according to all the knowledge 
and ability that is in them) to the service of 
God. by exercises of the soul. 

Now then^ since it is so (dear sister] that the 
quality of thy state requireth of thee to be con- 
templative (for that is the intent of thy enclosing, 
that thou mightest more freely and entirely apply 
thyself to spiritual exercises], it behoveth thee to 
be right busy both night and day in labour of 
body and spirit, to attain as nigh as thou canst 
to that life by such means as thou mayest End 
to be best for the said end. But before I tell 
thee of the means, I shall tell thee a little more 
of this contemplative life, that thou mayest some- 
what see what it is, and so set it as a mark in the 
sight of thy souU whereto thou shalt tend, and 
direct all thy exercises and doings. 


Of three Sorts ihat be of ConlempUlion, and of the 
Fiisi of them 

Contemplative life hath three parts. The first 
consisteth in knowing God, and of spiritual 
things gotten by reason and discourse, by teach- 
ing of men, and by study in holy Scripture, with- 
out spiritual gust, or affection, or inward relish 
felt by them ; for they have it not by the special 
gift of the Holy Ghost, as persons truly spiritual 
have their knowledge, wKLch, therefore, is very 
tasteful to them in their interior. 

This part have especially ir them learned men 
and great scholars, who, through long study and 

The First Book 

travail in holy W'nl. attain to this VnowIfcJpe 
more or less by the abrlities of their natural wii, 
which God giveth to every one, more or less, iliat 
hath use of reason. 

This knoTcIed^e ts g-ood, and may be called 
a kind or part ol Contemplaticm, ina.'^miich as 
it is a sig-ht of verily and a knowledge of 
hpiriLual things. Nevertheless it is but a fig^uro 
and shadow of true CottUmflaii&n^ since it hath 
no 5piritaal gust or taste in God> nor inward 
sweetness, which none feets but he that is in 
>p^at love of chanty ; for it is the proper Well 
or Spring of our Lord| to which no alien is 
admitted. But the aforesaid manner of know- 
ing is common both to good and bad, seeing it 
may be had without charily, and therefore it is 
noi very contemplation. Of this kind of know- 
ledge S'£ Paul speakelh thus ^ // I knfw all i C^r* iQL 
nvytUrtts ttmi ali knowUdg/^^ and haV€ noi chanty^ 
/ am rwlking. 

Nevertheless, if they that have it keep them- 
selves in humility and charity, and according 
to their might tiy worldly and fleshly ains, it is to 
them a good way, and a great disposing to 
true ConUmplation if they desire and pray de- 
voutly after the grace of the Holy Ghost. Other 
men have this knowledge, and turn it to pride 
and vain-g"lory, or unto covetousness and desire 
of worldly digniti'^s, worJihips and riches, not 
humbly using it to the glory of God, nor chari- 
tAbly to the soul's good of their brethren. Some 
of them fall either into heresies and errors, or 
into other open sins, by which they discredit 
themselves and the holy Church- Of thi» 
knowledge St Paid speaks in these words? 
KntfmUdgc puffeth up. lul chartiy fdifi^i. This 
knowledge alone lifteth up the heart to pride; 

I Cor. v'tii* 

The Scale of Perfcclion 

but mbt it with charity, and then it turns to 
How Jcanted This knowledge alone ts but water, un- 
mc* mfy Ar- savoury and cold. And, therefore, if thev Ihat 
amtf'iw. ^^^^ .^ would humbly offer it up to our'Lord. 
and pray for His ij^race. He would by His 
blessing turn their water into wine, as He did 
at the prayer of His Mother M the marriage 
feast; that is to say, He would turn their un- 
savoury knowledge into true wisdom, and their 
cold naked reason into spiritual light and burn- 
ing love, by the gift of the Holy Ghost. 


Of ihi Sfcoad Sort ot Contempl&tion 

The second part of Contefrtplation lieth princi- 
pally in affection, without spiritual light in the 
understanding or sight of spiritual things; and 
this is commonly of simple and unlearned men 
who give themselves wholly to devotion, and is 
had and felt in this manners When man or 
woman being in meditation of God, through 
the grnre of the Holy Ghost, feeleth fervour of 
love and spiritual aweetness, by occasion of 
thinking of Christ's passion, or of some of the 
works done by Him in His humanit>'; or he 
teeleth cause of great trust in the goodness and 
mercy of God for the forgiveness of his sins, or 
admires the liberality of His gifts of gra\:e» or 
else fepleth in his affpction a certain reverential 
fear towards God, and His secret judgements and 
justice, which yet he seeth not ; or being in 
prayer, he findeth all the powers of his soul 
to be gathered together, and the thought and 

The First Book 

love of his heart to be drawn up from al! tran- 
sitory* things, aspiring and tending upwards 
towards God by a fervent desire, and spiritual 
delight, and yet, nevertheless, during that time 
he hath no plain sight in the understanding 
of spiritual things, nor in particular of any of 
the mysteries or senses of the holy Scriptures; 
but only that for that lime nothing seemeth so 
pleasing and delightful to him as to pray, or 
think as he then doth for the savoury delight 
and comfort that he fincJeth therein, and yet 
cannot he teli what it is, but he feeleth it well, 
for it is a gift of God, for out of it spring many 
sweet tears, burning desires, and still mournings, 
or contrition for sin, which scour and cleanse 
the heart ^om all filth of sir, and causeth it to 
melt into a wonderiul sweetness in Jesus Christ, 
and to become obedient and ready to fulSl all 
God's will, insomuch that it seems to him he 
makes no reckoning what becomes of himself, 
so that God's will were fuLfitled in him^ and by 
him^ with many other such good inspirations 
and desires which cannot be reckoned. Such 
feelings as these cannot be had without great 
grace, and whoso hath any of them or other 
&uch like, he is at that time in charity and the 
grace of God; which charity, let him know to 
his comfort, will not be lost or lessened in him 
(though the fervour thereof may abate) but by 
a deadly sin. And this may be called the 
T^econd part of dmfemplationi nevertheless, this 
pan hath two d*^grees. 


The Scale of Perfcctioa 


Of the Lowep D^ree of lli« Second Sorl of Coa- 

The lower degree of this feeling-, men which are 
active may have by grace, when they are visited 
by our Lord, as mightily and as fervently as they 
that give themselves wholly to LoniempiaU'on and 
have this gift. But this feeling in his fervour 
Cometh not alway when a man. would, nor lasteth 
it full long» It comelh and gocth as He will tbat^^ 
giveth it; and therefore whoso hath it^ let hir^H 
be humble, and thank G<*d and keep It secre^^ 
unless it be to hU confessor, and let htm hold it 
as long as he may with discretion \ and when U 
is withdrawn, let him not be daunted or troubled, 
but abide constant In the light of faith, an humble 
hope, with patient expecting till it come again. 
This is a little tasting of the sweetness of the 
love of God, whereof David eaith thus in the 
fialm xiEtif' Psalms : Gtt-sfaiti et vid^U quoniam suav^s ei£ Do* 
minus— Tasfe £ind ste htm s-weet put Lord is. 


Of the Hie:lier Degree of the Second Sort of Coa- 

The higher de^ee of this part may not be had 
nor held hut of them which be in great rest and 
quiet both of body and mind, who by the grace 
of Je&us, and long travail corporal and spiriiualt 
are am^'ed to a rest and quietness of heart and 
clearness of conscience. So that nothing is 


The First Book 

pleasing to them as to sit still in quiet of body 
and to pray always to God, and to think on our 
Lord, and sometimes on the blessed name of 
Jesus, wMch is comfortable and delightful to 
them, by the remembering whereof they feel 
themselves moved and fed in their affection 
towards God, And not only the said name, 
but also all other kind of prayers (as the Pa^ 
Ur NosUr^ the Ave^ the liymns and Psalms^ 
and other devout prayers and sayings of holy 
Church) are lumed, as it were, into a spiritual 
mirth and sweet songs, by wliich liiey are com- 
forted and strengthened aj^ainst all sins, and 
much relieved in their bodily pains or diseases. 
Of this degree speaketh St Paul thus : Be fwi Rphsa, t, 
drunk mih wi'jie^ bul be Jilkd with Ihc IMy Gh<fs£^ 
speaking to yoursehes ttt psalms and hymns and 
spiritual ^ngs, making melody in your hearts to 
our Lord, Whoso hath this grace, let him keep 
himself in humility and be ever desiring to come 
to more knowledge and feeling of God, which 
is to be had in the third sort of Contemplation, 


Of the Tbiisl Sort of CoaiempUtioa 

The third sort, which is as perfect Conlempla^ 
turn as can be had in this lite, consisteth both 
in knowing and affecting; that is^ in knowing 
and perfect loving of God, which ia when a 
man's soul is first reformed by perfection of 
virtues to the image of Jesus, and afterwards, 
when it pteaseth God to visit him, he is taken 
in from all earthly and fleshly affections, from 
vain thoughts and imaginings of all bodily 


The Scale of Perfection 

creatures, and, as it were, much ravished and 
taken up Irom his bodily senses, and then by 
the grace of the Holy Ghost is enlightened^ ti> 
see by his understanding Truth itself [which is 
God) and spiritual thing's, with a soft, sweet, 
burning love in God, so perfectly thai he be- 
comeih ravished with His love, and so the soiil 
for the time is become one with God, and con* 
foimed to the image of the Trinity. 

The beginning of this CotU^mpla^ion may be 
fett in this life, but the fuU perfection of it is re^ 
served unto the bliss in heaven. Of this union 
and conforming to our Lord speaks Si Paul 
Cop. f1, 17 thus ; Qut &dhaerei Dso uni*s sptritus est cum ec ; 
that is to say, he who by ravishing of love is 
become uriited to God, God and that soul ard 
not now two, but both one. And surely in this 
Ofieing consifiteth the marriage which passeth 
betwixt God and the soul, that shall never bo 
dissolved or broken. 


Of the Difference that is betwixt the Second oheI 
Third Sort of Coaiejtipiation 

The foresaid second sort of dmiempiation may 
be termed a burning love in Dofotion^ and is 
the lower; this third a burning love in Con-- 
tempiatiofi^ and is the higher. That is sweeter 
to the bodily feeling, this to the spiritual feeling 
inwardly, and is more worthy, more spiritual, 
more wonderful. For, indeed, it is a foretaste 
(so little as it is) and an earnest or handsell ■ of 
the sight or Confempiaiion of heavenly joy, not 
clearly, but half in darkness, which shall be per- 

The First Book 


fected and made a clear Jight and sight in the 

bliss of heaven ; as Si Paul saUh : Ncrm we see i Car, jdiL 

«5 through a gUss darkiy\ bul ihen we shail sea 

iace i*} /ace. This is ihe enlighlening^ of the 

understanding in delights of loving, whereof 

Dtrvtti saith in the Psalter; Et nox illt4-mtna- /v^ cxxiviiL 

tio mea in rUluiis met^ — My night ts my lighi 

tn my dehghl^ The other is milk for children, 

but this ioiiii ineat Jot per/eci men, that hatt Htb. v, 14. 

tktir sunset txircised (as Si Paul savlh) for tht 

discerning 0/ good from eviL 

To the perfection of this high CcnUmplatton 
may no man come till he be first reformed in 
soul to the likeness of Jesus in ibe perfection of 
virtues; nor can any man living in mortal body 
have it continually and habitually in the height 
of it, but by times when he is visited. And as 
I conceive by the writing of \io\y men, it is a full 
short time, for soon after he retumeth to a so- 
briety of bodily feeling: and of all this work 
charity is the cause. Thus, as I understand Si 
Paul speaks of himself: /-or v^heih^r W4 he be- tCot^v^i^^^ 
Sfde vuntives, it is to Godj or whether we be sober, 
%i MS for your cause ; it 11 the love of Christ that 
eonstraineth us; that is, whether we overpaj^s 
our bodily senses in Contimpltition^ or we are 
more sober to you in our bodily feeling, the love 
of Christ straineth us. Of this part of Ctmtempla- 
tiffn and of reforming to God speaketh St Paul 
openly, thus : But we all with open face, behold- ; Cti/. lil, i& 
ing tfj in a glass ihe glory of tmr L ord, are changed 
nUo ihe same image /rem glory to ghry^ even as 
hy the sftrit of ihe Lord. Which is as much as 
if in the person of himself and all perl'ect men 
he had said thus : We, first being reformed 
in virtueSj and having the face of our soul un- 
covered yy^ opening of our spiritual eye, behold 


The Scale of Perfection 

as in a mirror the heavenly Joy, being withal 
fulshaped and oned to the image of our Lord, 
from clearness of faith into clearness of under- 
standing, or else from clearness of desire into 
that of blessed love; and all this is wrought in 
a man's soul by the sipirit of our Lord, as saith 
^7 Paul. 

This part of Cantempiattan God givelh where 
He will, to learned sind unlearned, to men and 
to women, to thera that are in g^^vernment, and 
to solitary also. But it is special, and not 
common- And although a man who all his 
lifetime is active happen to have the gift of it 
through special grace or favour, yet the fulness 
of it may no man have, but he that is solitary 
and in life contemplative- 



Hoxv that Appearings or Shewinsfs to ihe Corpo 

S^nsfs or FedinEfS may be both good and evii 

By this that 1 have said may you somewhat 
understand that visions, or revelations, or any 
manner of spirit in bodily appearing-, or in 
imaginings sleeping or waking, or also any 
other feeling in the bodily sense, made as it 
were spiritually, either by sounding in the ear, 
or savouring in the mouth, or smelling at tha 
nose, or else any sensible heat, as it were fire 
glowing and warming the breast, or any other 
part of the body, or any other thing that may 
be felt by bodily sense, though it be never so 
comfortable and liking, yet be they not very 
CmUertt plat ion ^ but simple and secondary (though 
they be good) in respect of spiritual ^'i^tues, and 
of this spiritual knowing and loving: of God ac- 

The First Book 


companying true Coniempiation. But all such 

niTinir of teeling- may be good, wrought by a 

j^ood an^l, and ttiey maybe dpceivable, wroug-ht 

by a wicked angel, when he iransfi^rdh htm- 

uifinio an atig^l o/ h'ghL Wherefore shh" they 

may be both good and evil» it appeareth they are 

not tlic best. For, mark ye well, that the devil 

may. when lie hath leave, counterfeit in bodily 

fcelmg the likeness of the same thing's the which 

a good ange\ raay work ; for just as a good ang^el 

cometb with light, so can the devil. And as he 

can do this tn matters of seeing, so can he do it 

in matters of the other senses. Whoso hath felt 

both, he can well tell which were good and which 

were eAil. But he that never felt either, or ehe 

but one of them, may easily be deceived. 

These two be alike in the manner of feeling 
outwardly, but they are full different within, and 
therefore they are not to be desired greatly, nor 
to be entertained lightly, unless a soul can by 
the spirit of discretion know the good from the 
eril, that he be not beguiled, as S£ John saith : 
Irttst not every s^irii, but essay first whether it 
U of God or no. Wherefore by one trial that 1 i Stf^hn \t, u 
&ball tell thee, methinketh thou shalt know the 
good from the evil. 


Hov thou sLaIi know whether tlie Showiagr or 
ApparilJon m thf bodily Senses and Feelings be 
Bcod or evil 

If it be so that thou see any manner of light or 
brightness with thy bodily eye or in imagination, 
other than every man seeth ; or if thou hear any 

* Siooe. 


The Scale of Perfection 

pleasant, wonderful sounding ^th thy ear, or in 

thy mouth any sweet sudden savour, other than 
what thou kfiowest to be natural, or any he^t in 
thy breast likeftrc, or any manner of delight in 
any part of thy body, or if a spirit appear bodily 
to thee, as it were an angel to comfort thee or 
teach thee: or if any such feeling, which thou 
knowest well that ic cometh not of thyself, nor 
from any bodily creature, beware In that time, or 
soon after, and wisely consider the stirrings of 
thy heart ; for if by occasion of the pleasure and 
liking thou takest in the said feeling or vision, 
thou feelest thy heart drawn from tl;e minding 
and beholding of Jesus Christ, and from spiritual 
exercises, as from prayer, and thinking of thyself 
and thy defects, or from the inward desire of vif^ 
tues, and of spiritual knowing and feeling of God, 
for to set the sight of thy heart and thy affection, 
thy delight and thy rest, principally on the sai*! 
feelings or visions, supposing that to be a part 
of heavenly joy or angels' bliss, and thereupon 
comest to think that thou ahouldst neither prav 
nor think of anything else, but wholly attend 
thereto, for to keep it and delight thyself there- 
in : then is this feeling very suspicious to come 
from the enemj' ; and therefore, though it be 
never so liking and wonderful, refuse it and 
assent not thereto, for this is a sleight of the 
enemy. When he seeth a soul that would en- 
tirely give itself to spiritual exercises, he li 
wonderfully wroth ; for he hateth nothing more 
than to see a soul in this hody of sin to feel verily 
the savour of spiritual knowledge and the love of 
God, which he himself, without the body of sin, 
lost wilfully. And therefore, if he cannot hinder 
him bv opo^n sinning-, he will let and beguile him 
ti vanity of bodily savours or sweetness in 


First Book 


the senses, to briTig a sou] into spiritual pride and 
Into a tal&e security of hlmseif, weening that he 
lad ttiereby a feeling of beavenly joy, and that 
teiiVialt in paradise, by reason of the delight 
befeeleth a"bout liini. when indeed he is near to 
Wlgate^; and so by pride and presumption he 
migU fall into errors or heresies, or phantasies, 
w otber bodily or spiritual mischiefs^ 

Bui if It "be so that this manner of feeling let 
not thy Heart from spiriiual eitercises, but maketh 
th« more devout, and more fervent to pray^ more 
wise to thinlc ghostly thoughts, and though it be 
50 XtiOX it astonish thee in the beginning, never- 
theless afterward it tumeth and quickeneth thy 
heart to more desire of virtues, and increaselh 
thy love more to God and to thy neighbour, also 
it maVeth thee more humble in thy own eyes — by 
these tokens mayest thou know that it is of tiod, 
wrought by the presence and working of a good 
uigelf and cometh from the goodness of God, 
either for the comfort of simple devout souls, for 
to increase their tru^t and desire towards God, 
to seek thereby the knowing and loving of God 
more perfectly by means of such comforts. Or 
eUe if they be perfect that feel such delight, it 
seemeth to them lo be an earnest and as it were 
a shadow of the glorifying of the body^ which it 
shall have in the bliss of heaven ; but 1 wot' not 
whether there be any such man living on earth. 
This privilege had Mnry AlagdaUn fas it seemeth 
to raei in the time when she was alone in the 
cave thirty years, and every day was borne up 
with angels, and was fed both body and soul by 
iheir presence, as we read in her story. 

Of this way of discerning the working of 
fipirits speaketh St John in his Epistle, thus* 


The Scale of Perfection 

I J;/tfArtlv,3. Omnis sfiritus qui sohit Jesum^ hie non £st 
ex De'i — Every spirit that looseih tir unknilieth 
y^jwr, he is not of God. These words, I coofess, 
may be undersiood in many manners, never- 
theless, one way I may understand Ihem to 
this purpose, as I have said. This knitting and 
fastening- of Jesus to a man's soul is wrought by 
a g'ood will and a great desire to Him, only to 
have Him and see llim in His bhss spiritually. 
The greater this desire is, the faster is Jesus knit 
to the soul ; and the less this desire is, the looser 
is He knit; whatsoever spirit, therefore, or feeling 
it is which lesseneth this desire and would draw 
it down from the stedfast minding of Jesus Christ 
and from the kindly breathing- or aspiring" up to 
Him, this spirit will unknJt Jesus from the sou), 
and therefore is not of God, but is the working 
of the enemy. But if a spirit, or a feeling, or a 
revelation make this desire more^ knitting the 
knots of love and devotion faster to Jesus, open- 
ing the eye of the soul into spiritual knowing 
more clearly, and maketh it more humble in 
itself, this spirit is of God. 

And hereby you may learn that you are not 
to suffer your heart willingly to rest nor to delig'ht 
wholly in any such bodily feelings of such man- 
ner of comforts or sweetness^ though they were 
good; but rather hold them in your sight naught, 
or little in comparison of spiritual desire and 
steJfast thinking on Jesus ; nor shall you fasten 
the thou^'ht of your heart over much on them< 

The First Book 



How ini ia wdat things a Cont«mpUtiT« Man should 
be busied 

But thou shalt ever seek with great diligence in 
prayer that ihou mayest come to a spiritual (heel- 
ing or sight of God, And that is, that lIiou 
maye&t know the wisdom of God, the endless 
mig^ht of Him, His great goodness m J^ilnself 
and in Hi^ creatures; for this is Contempla- 
and that other mentioned ia none, thus 
ith St Paul: Being roofed and gronnked tn Ephes. iH, iB. 
fJkarity, we may be ahU to comprehend with alt 
the iaifih ip/iat u the breadth atid length and 
height and d^th. That ye may know, he saith 
not, by sound of the ear nor sweet savour in the 
mouthy nor by any such bodily things but that ve 
may know and feel with all saints what is the 
length of the endless being of God, the breadth 
of the wonderful charity and the goodness of 
God, the height of His almighty Majesty and the 
bottomless depths of His wisdom. In knowing 
and spiritual feeling of these should be the ^in^x^ 
asi^ of 3. CitnUmplative man. For in these may 
be understood the full knowing of all ghostly 
things^ This exercise is thai one thing which 
St Paul coveted after> saying thus t This oite Phih'\\%^\^ 
thing 1 covet, which is iS\^X-^_ fargettm^ those 
things that are behsnd^ and reaching forth to 
those things that art hc/orc. I Press to the mark 
ef the tfipernat vocation. Which is as much as 
if he had said, OnA thing is best for me to 
covor, and that is, that I miL^»ht forget all things 
that be behind or backward, and I shall stretch 
out my heart ever forward for to feel and to grip 


The Scale ol Pdrfcction 

the sovereign reward of endless bliss. Behind 
are all bodily things, forward or before are all 
spiritual things. And so A/ /**/«/ would forget 
all bodily things, and even his own body also, 
that so he might see spiritual things. 


How VirlLie beginnetti in Reason dnd Will and ia 
perfected in Love and Likiog, or Affection 

Thus have 1 told thee a little of C<miempiattm 
what it is, to the intent that thou mighlest know 
it and set it as a mark before the sight of thy 
soul, and to desire all thy lifetime to come lo any 
part of it by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
This is the conforming of a soul to God, which 
cannot be had unless it first be reformed by some 
perfection of virtues turned into afiection ; which 
is when a man loveth virtues because they be 
g^ood in themselves. Many a man hath the 
virtues of humility, patience and charity to his 
neighbour, and such other only in his reason and 
will, and hath no spiritual delight nor love in 
Chem, for ofltimei^ he feeleth grudging heaviness 
and bitterness for to do them, and yet neverthe- 
less he doth them, but 'lis only by stirring of 
reason for dread of God, This m^n hath these 
virtues in reason and will, but not the love of 
them in affection. But when by the grace of 
Jesus and by ghostly and bodily exercise reason 
is turned into light and will into love, then haih 
he virtues in affection; fur he hath so well gnawn 
on the bitter bark or shell of the nut that at 
JenjTtli he hath broken it and now feeds on the 
kernel t that is to say, the virtues which were 

The First Book 

fir^t heavy for to practise are now turned into 
a very delight and savour, so that he takes as 
much pleasure in humility, patience^ cleanness, 
sobriety and charity as in any other deJights. 
Vmly tin these virtues be turned thus into affec- 
tion he may well have the second part of ConUm- 
fiaiicftf but the third, in sooth, shall he not have. 


CM the Meaiis that bring a Soul to ContempIatioQ 

Now seeing* virtues dispose us to ConUmplaUimt 
itbehoveth us to use the means that may bring- 
lu to virtues. And they be three means which 
men most commonly use that ^nve themselves to 
C<mitmplaHon : As reading of holy Scripture and 
g^od books; secondly, spiritual meditation; 
ihirfly, diligent prayer with devotion. By 
meditation shalt thou come to see thy vn-etch- 
edness, thy sirs and thy wickedness; as pride, 
covetousne&s, gluttony, sloth and lechery, wicked 
Btimngs of envy, anger, ha.tred, melancholy, 
wraib, bitterness and imprudent heaviness^ Thou 
5hah al50 see thy heart to be full of vain flames 
and fears cif ihe flesh and of the world. All these 
stirrings will always boil out of thy heart, as 
water runneth out of the spring of a stinking 
weJI, and do hinder the sight of thy soul, that 
thou maye.'^t never see nor feel clearly the love of 
Jesus Christ; for know thou well that until the 
heart b« much cleansed from such sins, through 
firm verity* and diligent medit-iting on Christ's 
huiranitv, thou canst not have any perfect know- 
ledge of God, Himself witnessing the same in 


The ScaJe of Perfection 

Si Afatt V. His Grospel thus ; Bleised are tJu clean tit 
hearty for they shall see God. In meditaiion, 
likewise, shalt thou see those virtues which be 
needful for thee to have, as humility, tnildness, 
patience, righteousness, spiritual strength, tem- 
perance, cleanness, peace and soberness, faith, 
hope and charity. These virtues thou shalt see 
in meditation, how good, how fair, how profi- 
table they be; and by prayer thou shalt there- 
upon desire and get them. Without which thirU 
means of prayer thou canst not be contemplative, 
for ?^ saith thus: lu ahundafttm mgrcdierts 
sepu-kkrum — In fit^niy s^titli th"n cuhr Ihy grane; 
that is in plenty of bodily works and spiritual 
virtues shalt thou enter thy grave, that is thy 
rect* in ConUmplaiioiK 

decenary /itp 



l^at A Man should uae and rcfuK by the Virtue of 

Now if thou desirest to prosecute spiritual works 
and exercises wisely, and to labour seriously in 
them, it behoveth thee to begin right low ; three 
things needest thou first to have, upon which as 
on a firm ground thou shall set all thy work, 
namely, humility, a firm faith, and resolute will 
and purpose to seek aftfr God- 

First, it behoveth thee to have humility on 
this manner; thou shalt in thy will and in thy 
feeling judge thyself unfitting to dwell among 
men and unworthy to serve God in conversation 

• Right rulfc 

The First Book 


with His servants, and as unprofitable to thy 
Chriitian brethren, wanting both skill and power 
to fulfil any good works of active life iti help of 
thy neighbour, as other men and women do. 
And, therefore, as a wretch and an outcast and 
refuse of all men art shat up in a house alone, 
that thou shouldat not grieve nor offend man or 
woman by thy bad example, seeing thou canst 
not profit them by any well-doing. Beyond this 
it behoveth thee to look further, that since thou 
ftrt 5o unable to serve our Lord by outward bodily 
»works, how much more it behoveth thee to deem 
thyself unable and unworthy to ser\'e him spiritu- 
^ally by inward exercises; for our Lord is a spirit, 
as the prophet saith: Our Lord is a Spirit before 
eur fac€^ and the most kindly service to Him is 
I Spiritual, as He saith Himself: Tnu worshif- st Ji>)\n\^. 
\p€rs shaii 'Ujorship tht Fai/ur tn spirit ami in 
•Jru/k. Thou then that art so gross, so lewd, so 
Ifieshlji K> blind in spiritual things and in the 
[understanding of thy own soul (which it behoveth 
Nthee lirst to Euiow before thou canst come to the 
knowing of God), how shouldst thou feel or think 
thyself to be able or worthy to enjoy the estate or 
likeness of a contemplative life, whtch con.'ii.steih 
'incipally, as I have said, in spiritual knowing, 
lis I apeak to thee, not that thou shouldst re- 
rnt thee of thy clothing, enclosing and state of 
tifei but that thou shouldst feel this humiUty 
locally in thy heart (if thou canst), for this is the 
very truth and no lie. And, thereupon, thou 
shah night and day desire and endeavour to 
come in truth as near as thou canst lo that state 
which thou ha&t taken upon thee» tirmiy believ- 
ing il to be the best kind of state for thee (by the 
y of Godj to exercise thyself in. And though 
so that thou canst not in this life attain to 


The Scale oC Perfection 

Not to fvffgt 

the perfection of that state, yet, at leastj seeli to 
make an entry into it^ and trust assuredly to have 
the perfection thereof by the mercy of God in 
heaven. And truly tliis is my own case, who 
feel myself so wretched, frail and fleshly, and ao 
far from the true feeling of that which I speak o^ 
that in a manner I do nothing but cry, God 
mercy, and desire after it las well as I canj with 
a hope that our Lord will bring- me thereto in 
heaven. Do thou likewise; and better also, if 
God g-ive thee grace. 

The feeling- of this lowness and humility will 
put out of thy heart all imprudent looking into 
other men's actions, and chive thee wholly to 
behold thyself, as if there were no other man 
living' but God and thyself. And thou shalt 
deem and hold thyself more vile and more 
wretched than any one creature that liveth ; in- 
somuch that thou 5hah hardly be able to brook 
and endure thyself, for th? ^eatness and number 
of thy sins, and the tilth which thou sholt feel in 

Thus behoveth it thee sometimes to feel aad 
"!!f^ **^''^'^ judee of thyself, if Ihou mean to become truly 
tin t\ hiffuffi/ humble. For I tell thee truly, if tbou will be 
yocy humble, thou must think a venial sin in 
thyself more grievous and painful to thee and 
greater in thyaig'ht sometimes than great deadly 
hina in other men. And this is most true in thy 
case who aimest at Contemplation, seeing whatso- 
ever hi ndereth and letteth thy soul most from the 
feeling- and knowing' of God, oughteth to b^ 
most grievous and painful to thee. But a venial 
sin of thy own letteth thee more frf}m the feeling- 


A Crmttmpto- 
tiv€ should 





manS sins can do^ be tliey never so great. 

It follows, therefore, that thou should^t rise 

The First Book 


mnre in thy heart against thyself to hate and 

condemn in thyself all manner of sin which 

ItiHb tViee from the sight of God, more than 

agiinst ilie faults of other men ; for if thy heart 

k clean from thy own sins, verily the sins ot 

(jlhermen wUl not hurt thee. If, therefore, thou 

wiU fend Test here and in heaven, do thou {ac* 

raiding to the counsel of one of the hc>ly Fathers) 

fevery day aslc of thyself: What am I^ and 

judge no man. 

But thou wilt object, how may this be, seeing ir&o ntf not 
it is a deed of charity to tell men of their faults, ^^ 'f^ "''*™ 
and a deed of mercy to admonish ihera that they "^'^'^^'J"^'''- 
may mend ? 

To this I answer that in my mind, that to 
thee or any other that hath taken on them the 
state of a contemplative life, it belongeth not to 
leave the watching over thyself to behold and 
blajne other men, unless there should be great 
need, 50 that a man were in danger to perish 
without it. 

But those men that are active and have Afulwhearu 
authority and charge of others, are bound by 
their office and by way of charity to look into, 
inquire and rightly to judge and correct other 
men's faults ; not out of a desire and delight to 
punish them, but only for need, with the fear of 
Gud and in Hi:* name, and for the love of the 
i^vation of their souls^ Other men also who 
Are active and have no care or charge of other 
men are bound to admonish other men of thetr 
faults out of charity only, and that when the sin 
is deadly and cannot well be corrected by an- 
other, and there is hopes of amendment by being 
admonished, else it is better to let it alone. 

That this is good doctrinej may be gathered 
by the practices of St John, who was a Cvn- 


The Scale of Perfection 

timpiativt^ and St Peter, who was an Aettve 
man. For when our Lord at His lost Supper 
with His disciples, at the motion of St Peter to 
St John» told St John how Judos should betray 
Him, St John told it not to St Peter, thoiig^h 
he asked hinir but turned him, and laid his 
head upon Christ's breast, and became ravished 
throug'h love into the contemplation oi the 
Divinity and divine secrets; and that so plea- 
singly and beneficially to himself that he forg'ot 
both Judas and St Peter, teaching thereby other 
Conitmplatives how in the like occasion they 
should behave themselves. 

By this that halh been said thou mayest learn 
neither to judge other men nor conceive wiiling'ly 

A'o/ to enftf- 
tain suspi' 

7hot%ad a^ against them any evil suspicions, but love thecn, 
tt€iiw/t/e. nor see any faults in them, but worship in thv 
heart such as lead Adive lives in the world, and 
suffer many tribulations and temptations ; which 
thou sitting in thy house feelest naught of; and 
they endure very much labour and care, and 
take much pains for their own and other men's 
sustenance, and many of them had rather (if they 
might] serve God !as thou dost] in bodily rest 
and quietness. Nevertheless, they in the midsi 
of their worldly business, avoid many sins, which 
thou, if thou wert in their slate, shouldst fall 
into, and they do many good deeds, which thou 
canst not do. There is no doubt but many do 
thus, but which they be, thou knowest not; and 
therefore it's good for thee to worship * thera all, 
and set them all in thy heart above thyself as thy 
betters, and cast thyself down at their feet, as 
being the vilest and lowest in thy own sight. 
For there is neither dread nor danger in makinpf 
thyself never so low beneath others, though in 

■ Respect. 

The First Book 

^Ive sight of (iod, at the same time, thou hast 

mote grace than others; but dang'er there is in 

l}eing too hig-h, and lifting up thyself in thy 

liioughts willingly above any other mar, though 

he were the most wretched and the moat sinhil 

caitiS that is in the earth ; for our Lord saiih ■ 

Heth<U huntblcih himself shall be exalted^ and he StLtiXexW^ 

Ihoi txaitcth him^tlf shall he brought kmt. 

This part of humility doth tt behove tliee to 
have in thy beginning; and by it, and for the 
^ce, &halt thou come to the perfection of it, 
and so of all other virtues. For whoso hath one 
virtue, hath all other virtues; as much as thou 
hast of humihty, so much hast thou of charity, of 
I>atjence, and of other virtues ^ though they be 
not shown or appear outwardly. Be, therefore, 
busy to get humility, and hold it fast, for it is 
rhe first and The last of all other virtues. 

The first, as being the loundation^ as saith St 
A uguittne : If thou ihink to build a high htmse of 
^rtu^, lay first a dstp founditlti/n of fiumiltty. 
Also, it is the last ; for it is the maintainer and 
eonserver of all other virtues. SI Gngify saith : 
Ih that gathcreth ^orstriveth lokeep^ virtueswith- 
out humiUty, is like him that Tiiakelh or carriatk 
tk4 p<mdcr of sptces tn the wind. Do thou never 
so good deeds, fast, watch, or anything else, 
if thou hast not huaiiUty> it is naught which 

K>u Uost. 
Xevertheless, if thou feelest not this humility Nov re qet 
thy heart with affection, as thou wishcst. do as humiti^^f.^ 
I thou may est, humble thyself in will, by reasoning 
and arguing with thyself, judging that by right 
(hou shouldst be so humble, and thJnk of thyself 
as 1 have &aid» albeit thou do not so feel it within 
Ihec, and in that respect hold and esteem thyself 
rtW! verier wretch, that thou canst not feel thyself 


The Scale of Perfection 

to be that which in truth thou art. And if thou 
do so, though thy flesh rise against it, and will not 
assent to thy will, be not loo much daunted, nor 
troubled, but bear with and suffer such false feel- 
ings of thy fleshy as a pain, and then despise and 
reprove that feeling:^ and break down that risingf 
oF thy heart, as if thou wouldst be well con- 
tented to bo spumed and trodden under other 
men's feet. So by the grace of Jesus Christ, 
through stftdfast thinking on the humility of His 
precious Manhood, shalt thou much abate the 
siirrings of pride; and the virtue of humiUty, 
that was first only in thy naked will, shall be 
turned into feeling of affection. Without which 
virtuej either in true will, or in feeling of affec- 
tion, whoso dispoaeth himself to sene God in a 
contemplative life, like to a blind man, he will 
stumble, and never attain thereto. The higher 
he climbeth by bodily penance^ and other virtues, 
and hath not this humility^ the lower he falleth. 
For as Si Gregory saith : He that canuot perfently 
despise himsslj^ he hath never y€t found tht hum 
tt-isdom o/gur Lord Jesus Christ, 


How Hvpocritea and Herctica^ for want of Humility, 
exalt tbemMlves in their Hwpls abov? oihera 

HypoCRIIKS and heretics feel not this humility 
neither in good-will nor in affection, but full 
cold and dry are thdr hearts and reins from the 
soft feeling of this virtue, and by so much the 
further are they from it, as they esteem they have 
it. They gnaw on the dry bark without, but the 
sweet kernel and the inward taste of it they 
never come to. They make a show of outward 
humility in habit and holy speech, in a low 


The First Book 


carriage, and (as they would make show) in 
many corporal and spiritual virtues. But in the 
will and affection of their heart, where humility 
should be, it is but feignei. For they judge, 
and despise, and set at naught other men thai 
wiU not do as ihey do and teach; they eslt-eni 
Ihein either fools for want of knowledge, or to be 
blinded by fleshly living. And, therefore, lift 
they themselves up on high in thHr own sight 
above all others, weening that they live better 
than others^ and that they only have the truth 
and verily of right living- and of spiritual feehnj^, 
and of ihe sitig"ijlar grace of God both in know- 
Icige and affection above all others. And out of 
this sight of themselves riseth a delight in their 
heans, in which they worship and praise them- 
selve*. ft3 if there were none but they. They 
praise and thank God w^ith their lips, but in their 
hearts, like thieves, they steal His worship and 
praise, and place it in themselves^ and so have 
neither humility in will nor affection. 

A wretched caitiff or sinner which fillelh all 
dav, and is sorry that he doth so, though he haih 
not humility in affection, yet hath he it in good 
will ; but an Hiretic or an Hypocrifc hath neither ; 
for they have the condition of the Pharisie, who 
came, as our Lord saith in the Gospel, with the 
Ihtbliasn into the Temple to pray. And when he 
came, he prayed not. nor aaked aught of God, 
for he thought he harl no n'?ed ; but he began to 
thank God. and said thus: Lord^ I ihauk TJtef 
thai Th^u FiiYsi mc mart grace th\in olha-^^ tiuU 
I am net Uk£ other m&n^ robbers, tttxunous, or 
ffihfr su€h stfttters. lie looked beside him, and 
aaw the Puhlicnn^ whom he knew for a wretch, 
knocking on his breast, only cr>'ing for mercy; 
then he thanked God he was not such a one as 

The Scale of Perfection 

Stilus XV, 

Isoitis Ivv'i- 

he, for Lord, said he, 2 Jasi twCct a wtek^ an J I 
pay my tUh€s duly. When he had done, our Lord 
said ; lie went home without grace as he came, 
and got just noiigfht. 

But liiou wilt say, wherein did this Pharisee 
amiss, since he thanked God and spoke the 
truth } I answer he did amiss, inasmuch as he 
judged and reproved the PuhUcan in his heart, 
who was justified of God. And he also did 
amiss, for he thanked God only wilh his mouth, 
but secretly in his heart he willingly delighted in 
himself through pride and glorying in the gifts 
of God, stealing to himself the honour of them, 
and the praise and love clue to God. This is the 
condition verily of Heretics and HypocrtUi, they 
will not willingly pray, and if they pray, do not 
humble themselves, acknowledging their wretch- 
edness, but feigningly thank and love God, and 
speak of Him with their mouth, but their delight 
is vain and false, and not in God, and yet they 
do not think so, for they cannot love God, And 
as the wise man saith: Pratse is $i^S comciy in 
the Tiiaiiih of a sinner^ Wherefore it is profitable 
for me, and for thee, and for such other wretches, 
to leave the condition of this Pharisee, and 
feigned loving of God, and follow the Pttbh'can in 
lowliness, asking of mercy and forgiveness of 
sins, and grace Of spiritual virtues, that we may 
afterward, wilh a clean heart, truly thank Him 
and love Him, and yield wholly all honour with- 
out feigning; for our Lord askcth thus by His 
Prophet : Vpirti whotri shall My Spirti restf lie 
answereth Himself, and saith: L/p^m none hut 
upon the kuffthlc. poor and confrtle in hcarl^ and 
htm that trenihklh at My words. If, therefore, 
thou will have the Spirit of God ruling in thy 
heart, have humility and dread Him. 

The First Book 




Of ft firm F^tb ntccssAiy ther«lD,and what ttiin^s wc 
oue^l lo believe (hereby 

The second thing which it behovelh Ihee to have Fa!t/i^ 
is a firm faith in a^ll the articles of thy belief, 
and in the Sacraments of the holy Church, 
believing them stedfaitly with all thy will in 
thy heart. If thou feel any stirring in ihy heart 
gainst any of them, by 6ugfife&tion of the enemy 
to put thee in doubt of them, be thou stedfast, 
and dread not therefore, but forsake thine own 
wil, without disputing or ransacking of them, 
and set thy faith in general on the faith of the 
holy Church, and make no reckoiiing of the 
stirrings of thy heart which seem to be contrary 
thereto ; for those stirrings are not thy faith, but 
the faith of the holy Church is thy faith, though 
thou never see it nor feel it. And bear those 
suggestions patiently as a scourge of our Lord» 
by which He will cleanse thy heart and make thy 
faith stedfast. Also it behoveth thee to embrace 
and honour in thy heart all the laws and ordi- 
tiances made by the prelates and rulers of the 
Church, either in declaring of the Faith, or 
concerning the Sacraments, or in general con- 
cerning all Christian men, meekly and truly 
a&^nting to them thoug^h thou understandcst 
not the cause of making such ordinances , 
and though thou shouldst think that some of 
them were unreasonable,* yet shalt not thou 
judge them or find fault with them, but reverence 
and honour them althou^rh they little concern 

* UnaLLLfuL 


The Scale of Perfection^ 



thy particular. Neither entertain thou anyopi-' 
nion or fancy or singular conceit under colour of 
more holiness (as some unwise people do) either 
out of thy own imagination, or by the teaching 
of any other man, which thwarteth the least 
ordinance or g:eneral teaching of the Church. 

Moreover, together with such faith, thou shalt 
firmly hope that thou art ordained by our Lord 
to be saved as one of His chosen by His mercy, 
and stir not from this hope whatsoever thou 
hearcst or seest, or what temptation befalls thee, 
TTiough thou think thysH'lf so great a wretch that 
thou art worthy to sink into hell, for that thou 
doest no good nor serve^'^t God as thou shouldst 
yet hold thee in this truth and in this hope, and 
a^k mercy, and all shall be well with thee. And! 
though all the devils in hell appeared ini 
bodily shapes, saying to theej sleeping^ or wak^ 
ing, that thou shouldst not be saved ; or all men 
living on earth or all the anpfels in heaven (if 
possible) should say the same, yet believe them not, 
nor be stirred much from thy hope of salvation. 
This I speak to thee, because some are 30 weak 
and simple that when they have given up them- 
selves wholly to serve God to their power, and 
feel any stirrings of this kind within them bn^ 
the suggestion of the enemyj or any of hH^| 
false prophets (which men call soothsayers) that 
they shall not be saved, or that their state or 
manner of living is not pleasing to God, tUay be 
astonished and moved with such words, and so, 
through ignorance fall sometimes into great heai 
nesa, and as it were into despair of salvaiionn 

Wherefore it is fas it seems to mel necessai 


/*"" for every one (th.itby the grace of God is in a 
'""* and resolute will to forsake sin, and as clearly as 
his conscience telleth him, su^ercth no deadly si 

' be 

Tht First Book 


to rest in him, but he gfoes soon to confession for 
it, and humbly betaVes himself to the sacraments 
of the ChxirchJ to have a gx>od trust and hope of 
salvation. Much more then should they trust and 
hope, who give themselves wholly to God, and 
€schew venial sins the be&t they know and can. 

But on the other hand, as perilous it is for ivhoKof. 
him who Heth witting^ly in deadly sin, to have 
trust in salvation, and in hope of this trust will 
not forsake his sin, nor humble himself truly to 
God and the holy Church. 


Of a Firm and resolufe Intent and Purpose ntcpssary 

The third thing needful far thee to have in thy 
beginning was an entire and firm intention ; that 
is to say an entire will and a de^^^ire only to please 
God, for this is charity, without which all is 
nougfht which thou doest, and thou shalt set 
thine intent always to search and travail how 
thou irayest please Him, resting no time will- 
ingly from some good exercises, either bodily or 
ghostly. Neither shall thou set a time in thy 
heart that thus long thou wilt serve Hira, and 
then suffer thy heart willingly to fall down uj 
vain thoughts and idle exercises, imagining it 
needful to do so for preserving of Ihv health, 
leaving the keeping of thy heart and good exer- 
cises, and seeking rest and comfort for a time 
oucivardly from thy bodily senses or inwardly 
from vain thoughts, as it were for recreation t)f 
Ihy spirit, that thereby it may be more quick and 
livfly for spiritual employments. But I trow 
ihou wilt not find it so. I say not that thou wilt 


The Scale oE Perfection 

be able ftilly and continually to perform this thy 
intent and purpose, for ofttiraes thy bodily neces- 
sities, such as eating, drinking, sleeping and 
speaking; and the frailty of thy flesh shall let and 
hinder thee, be thou n^i-ver so careful. But my 
meanini^f and desire is that thy will and intent be 
always wholly to be exercised bodily and apiri' 
tually, and to be no time idle, but always lilting 
up thy heart by desire to God and to heaven, 
whether thou be eating or drinking or doing any 
corpijral work as much as thou canst, intermit it 
not willingly. For if thou have this intent it 
will make ihee quick and ready to thy exercises; 
and if thou fall through frailty or negligence 
upon any idle occupation or vain speech, it will 
smite thy heart as sharply as a prick, and make 
th[?e account irksome, antl be weary of all such 
vanities, ^nd turn again speedily to inward think- 
ing of Jesus Christ or to some good excercise. 

As to ihy body, it is good Co use discretion in 
eating, drinking and sleeping, and in all mann*rr 
of bodily penance, and in long vocal prayer, and 
in all bodily and sensible feelings and fervours, 
or earnestness of devotions, and tears and the 
like, and in discoursing with the imagination in 
limes of aridities and want of the feeling of grace. 
In all these works it is good to use discretion, 
lor the mean is the best. But in destroying of 
sin by keeping thy heart, and in the continual 
desire of virtues and the joys of heaven, and to 
have the spiritual knowledge and love of Jesus 
Christ, hold there no mean, for the greater it 
is the better it is; for thou must hate sin and 
all fleshly loves and fears in thy heart with- 
out ceasing, and love virtue and purity and 
desire them without stinting if thou canst. I say 
not that all this is needful to salvation, but I 

TkRrst Book 

tiow it is speedful and much helping. And if 
ihoulteep this full intf-nt, thou shale profit more 
iTYone year in virtues than thou shall without it 

in icven. 


A hriA Rehearsal of whil h^^h been said, and of an 
OFf«rtnB made of ihcm allogprhcp to Jesus 

Nov 1 have told thee of the end thou shouldst 
wt in thy desire, and draw towards it as nigh 
« thcu c&nst, as also what is ncudful for thee 
to have in thy beginning, namely, humility, firm 
tiithand an entire and strong- will and purpose, 
upon which ground Ihou slialt build thy apiri- 
tiJil house by prayer and meditailon and other 
spiritual virtues, 

Funhermore, pray thou or meditate thou, or 
itiy other good deed or exercises which thou 
dott, be ii either Kiood by grace or defective 
iHmgh thy own fraiity, or whatsoever i: be that 
itoaseest, reele:>t or hearest, smellesl or tastest, 
<Hil\eT outwardly or by tiiy bodily senses or in- 
«rtly by thy imagination, or knowest or per- 
Cfiv«iby thy natural reason, bring; it all within 
llwftnjlh and the rules of holj' Church, and cast 
4ll inio tiie mortar of hunulily and break it 
*i^all with the pestle of the fear of God, and 
tl^towtlie powder of all this into the fire of de- 
" r. and so offer it up to God. And I tell thee 
tfuth that ^vell pleasing" shall this offerinpf 
Ell ilie sig"ht of our Lord Jesus, and iweet 
*halUhe smoke of that fire smell before His face. 
Ihe sum i* this : draw all that thou acest and 
irit(?ndeH within the truth of holy Church, and 
^■^nk thyself by humility, and offer up the desire 


The Scale of Ptrfection 

ol thy heart only to thy Lord Jesus, to have Him 
and nought else but Him, If thou do thus, I 
hope, by the grace of Christ, that thou shall 
never be overcome by thine enemy. This St 
Car.ji. Panl teacheth ns when he saith : Whetkfr ye 
&U or drinkt or vtkafsorn'er else ye do^ d^ ail in 
the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, forsaking 
yourselves and offering all lip to Him ; and the 
means which thou shall use to this purpose are 
prayer and meditation. 



Of Prayer, and the aeveral Sorts thereof 

WJtat ^ftij*' Prayer is profitable and speedhil to be used 
ift for the gL'tting of purity of heart by destroying- 

of sin and brining in virtues; rot that thou 
shouldst thereby make our Lord Itnow what 
thou desirest, for He knowel' well enough what 
thou needest. but to dispose thee and make thee 
ready and ablo thereby, aa a clean vessel, to re- 
ceive the grace which our Lord would freely give 
thee, which grace cannot be felt till thou be 
e:cercised* and purified by the tire of desire in 
devout prayer. For though it be so that prayer 
is not the cause for which our Lord giveth grace, 
nevertheless it is a way or means by which grac< 
freely given comeih into a souL 
UoTtix-e ^^t now thou wilt desire perhaps to know 

thou.uprcy. how thou ^shouldst pray and upon what thing 
thou shoultlst set the point of thy thoughts in 
prayer, and also what prayer was best for thee to 
use. As to the first, I answer that when thou 

The First Book 


art wakftned out of thy sleep, and art ready to 
pray, thou shalt feel thyself fleshly ard heavy, 
tending ever dowmwards to vain thoughts, either 
of dreams or fancies, or of unnecessary things of 
the world or of the fiesh, then behoveth it thee 
to quicken thy heart by prayer^ and slir it up as 
much as thou canst to some devotion. In thy 
prayer set not thy heart on any bodily thing, 
hut all thy care shall be to draw in thy thoughts 
ti^m beholding any bodily thing, that thy desire 
may be as ic were naked and bare from all 
earthly things, ever aspiring upward to Jesus 
Christ, whom yet thou canst never see bodily as 
He is in His Godhead, nor frame any image or 
likeness of Him in thy imagination; but thou 
mayest, through devout antl continual beholding 
of the humility of His precious humanity, feel 
the goodness and the grace of His Godhead. 

When thy desire and mind is gotten up, and 
as it were set free from all fleshly thoughts and 
affections, and is much lifted up by spiritual 
power unto spiritual favour and delight in Him 
and of H(s spiritual presence ; hold ihou therein 
much of thy time of prayer, so that thou have no 
great mind of earthly things, or if they come into 
thy mind that they do but trouble or affect thee 
little. If thou canst pray thus, thou prayest well, 
for prayer is nothing else but an ascending or 
getting up of the desire of the heart into God 
by withdrawing of it from all earthly thoughts. 
Therefore it is likened to a fire which, of its own 
nature, leaveth the lowness of the earth and 
always mounteth up into the air, even so desire 
in prayer, when it is touched and kindled of the 
spiritual fire, which is God, is ever aspiring up to 
Him that it came from. 

They that speak of this fire of love know not 


The ScaU of Pcrfcclioi 

^/cPW ■» _ . . L_J=1_. ,l_- f_l. 1 f 

praytr u. 

neither any bodily thing nor felt by any sense of 
the body. A soul may feel it in prayer or in 
devotion, which soul is in iho body* but it feoleth 
it not by any bodily sense ; for thuugh it Is true 
that it works in and upon the soiil, that the body 
itself is turned thereby into a heat and be as it 
were chafed through the labour and travail of the 
spiritj nevertheless the fire of love is not bodily, 
for it 15 only in the spiritual desire of the ?>[>ul. 
And this is no riddle to any man or woman that 
have had the experience of devotion ; but be- 
cause some are so simple as to imag-ine that 
because it is called a fire that therefore it should 
be hot as bodity fire is, therefore have I set 
down thus much. 

Now as to thy other question to know what 
prayer is tiest to be used, 1 shall give thee my 
opinion. Thou shalt understand that there be 
three kinds of vocal prayer- 

The first is that which was made immediately 
by God Himself, as the PitUr ricsier ; the second 
those that are made more generally by the 
Tftret lorti of Ordinance of holy Church, as Matins, Evt^nsong 
cn7JmT/r/t ^"^ Hours J the third sort such as are made by 
a^u ' '^ pious men addressed to our Lord and to our 
Lady and to His saints. 

As to these kinds of prayers that are called 
vocal, I judge that for thee that art religious and 
art bound by custom and thy rule to say thy 
Breviary it is most expedient to say it, and that 
as devoutly as thou canst, for in saying of them 
thou sayest also the PaUr nosiar and other prayers 
likewise. And to stir thee up more to devotion 
there be ordained psalms and hymns, and such 
other which were made by the Holy Ghost, like 
as the Pafer noster was. Therefore thou shalt 

Wkat prayer 
ts bfii to bt 

First Book 


not say them hastily nor carelessly^ as if thou 
wen troubled or diacontenied for being bound to 
the recital of them i but thou shalt recoiled thy 
thoughts to say them more seriously and more 
devoutly than anv other prayers of voluntary de- 
votion, deeming for truth that, seeing it is the 
prayer of holy Church, there is no vocal prayer 
so profitably to be used by thee as it is. Thus 
shak thou put away all heaviness, and by God s 
grace turn thy necessity into good will and ihv 
oblig'ation into a great freeilom^ so that it shall 
be no hindrance to thy other spiritual exercises. 
After this thou raaj-e&l. if thou wiit, u&e others, as 
the Patfr ttos/et or any other, and stick to those 
in which thou feelest mo^t savour and spiritual 

This kind of vocal prayer is commonly most 
profitable for every man in the beg"inning of his 
conversion, as tiein;^ then but rude and gross and 
carnal : unless he have the more grace ^ nor can- 
not think of spirtiual thoughts in his meditations, 
for his sou! is not yet cleansed from his old sins- 
And therefore J hope it is most speedful to use 
this manner of prayer, as to say his Pater ncster 
and his Ave, and to read upon his psalter and 
such other. For he that cannot run easily and 
lightly by spiritual prayer, his feet of knowledge 
and love being f-^ble and sick by reason of sin, 
hath need of a firm staff to hold by, which staff 
IS set forms of vocal prayer ordained by God and 
holy Church for the help of men's souls. By 
which the soul of a fleshly man that is alway 
falling downward into worldly thoughts and sen- 
sual afR^ions shall be lifted up above them, and 
holden up as by a staff, and fed with the sweet 
words of those prayers as a child with milk, and 
^ided and held up by them that he fall not into 


The Scale of Perfection 

7^^ rirwnifpr itf 
those that in 
the beginning 
ieavt thev^xat 
Prttjer^ a/the 
Ckttreh and 
fait loo soon to 

/Va/fM ckIL 

em>r5 Or fancies through his vain imaginations \ 
for ihat in this manner of prayer is no deceit nor 
error to him that will diligentl/ and humbly 
exercise himself therein. 

And hereby thou mayest leam that those men 
(if any such there be) who in the beginning of 
their conversion, or soon after, having felt some 
spiritual comfort, either in devotion or know- 
ledge, and are not yet stablished therein, leave 
such vocal prayer and other outward exercises 
too soon, and give themselves wholly to medita- 
tion, are not wise : for ofttimes in that time of 
rest which they take to themselves for meditation, 
imagining' and thinking on spiritual things after 
their own fancies, and following their bodily 
feelings having not yet received suflficieni grace 
thereto, by indiscretion overtravd their wits and 
break their bodily strength, and so fall into 
fancies and singular conceits, or into open errors, 
and hinder that grace which God hath already 
given them, by such vanities. The cause of all 
this is secret pride and overweening of them- 
selves ; for when they have felt a little grace and 
some sensible devotion, they esteem it so much 
to SLupass tlie graces and favours He doth to 
others that they fall into vain-glory. Whereas if 
they knew but how little ir were in comparison of 
thai which Grod giveth, or may give, they would 
be ashamed to speak anything of it, unless it 
were in a case of great necessity. Of this kind 
of vocal prayer speaketh D(^id in the Psaims^ 
thus ; IVi'ih -my voice ftave I cried tiiUa the 
L^d, with my voice hftz^e I prayed io our 
Lord, Behold how the prophet, for to stir 
other men to pray both wnth mouth and wiih 
voice, saith : With my ^oicff I cried io G<jdy and 
With my speech I Icsoughi tntr Lord, 

The First Book 


I There is another sort of vocal prayer which 15 ^^ ^etvnJ 

I not by any set common form of prayer; but is, ^' **'' '''*'*' 
' when a man or woman, by the gift of God, feel- ^ 
ing the grace of devotion, ^pedketh to God as it 
were bodily in His presence, with such words as 
suit most CO his inward stirrings for the lime, or 
as Cometh to his mind, answerable to the feelings 
or motions of his heart, either by way of re- 
hearsal of his sins and wretchedness, or of the 
malice and sleights of his enemy, or of the 
mercies and goodness of God. And hereby he 
crieth with desire of heart arid speech of mouth 
to our Lord for succour and for help^ as a man 
that were in peril among his enemies ; or in 
sickness, showing his sores to God as to a 
physician, saying with Datfi'd : Deliver me Jtem 
my eptrtnies, O Lord. Or else this; Heal my 
sffiU, Jor I have stnned againsl Thee; or other 
suchlike words as they come to hismind. 

And at other times there appears to him to 
be sD much goodness and grace and mercy in 
God that it delighteth him with g^eat affection 
of heart to love Him, and th^nk Him in such 
words and psalms as do most suit to that oc- 
casion, as Dorvid saith: Con/ess y^ to the Lord ft- cxirxif, 
hfcause He is good, because His rnercy cnduteik 
for flwr. 

This kind of prayer pleaseth God much, for 
it proceedeth wholly from the affection of the 
heart, and therefore never goeth away unsped* 
or empty without some grace, and this prayer 
belongcth to the second part of t&fitemphttofi^ 
as I have said before. Whoso hath this gift of 
God fervently ought for a time lo eschew the 
presence and company of all men, to be alone 
that he be not letted :t whoso hath it let him 


* UnprD!<pcroa<4 

^ Intcrrupledi 


The Scale of Perfection 

hold it as long as he can, for it will not last long 
in its fervour. If the grace of it come plenteous- 
ly, it is wondrous painful to the spirit, though 
it be much pleasant also to it ; for it is much 
wasciiig to the body whoso useth it much, for it 
makcth the body (if the grace of it come in abun- 
dance; for to stir and move here and there as if 
the man were mad or drunk and could have 
no rest- This la a point of the passion of love, 
the which by great violpnce ard mastery breaketh 
down and morti&eth all lusts and likings of any 
earthly thing", and woundeth the soul with the 
blessed sword of love, that it makes the body 
siak, not able to bear it. The touch of love is 
of so great power that the most vicious or fieshly 
man living on earth, if he were once strongly 
touched with this sharp sword, he would be right 
sober and grave a great while after, and abhor 
all the lusts and likings of the flesh and all 
earthly things which before he took moat de- 
lig^ht in. 

Of this manner of feeling speakeih the prophet 
/rr.xx, J, J^nmy thus ; And /here was m^idc in my heart 
as a firf boilingy and shut up in my bonts, artd 
I fainiedy not ahic to bear it ; which words 
may be understuod thus: The love and feeling 
of God was made in my heart, rot fire, but as 
boiling or burning fire ; for as material fire 
burneth and wasteth all bodily things where it 
cometh, right so doth spiritual fire (as is the love 
of God} burneth and wasteih all fleshly loves and 
likings in a man's soul- And this fire is ^hut 
up in my bories, as the prophet saith of himself; 
that is to say : This love filleth the powers of the 
soul, as the mind, reason and wil]> with grace 
and spiritual sweetness, as marrow filleth the 
bones, and that inwardly^ and not outwardly in the 

The First Book 


senses. Nevertheless it is so mighty 'ftithin that 
ii worketh out imo the body, and malcpth it 
quake and tremble. And yet it hath so little to 
do with the bodily sense^^ and ^o u n acq u el i cited 
is the body with it that it cannot skiil of it and 
cannot bear it, but faileth and falleth down as 
the prophet saith . Therefore our Lord tem- 
pereth it and withdraweth this feirour, and 
Nuff^^ieth the heart lo fall into more sobriety 
and softness. He that can pray thus often, he 
bpeedeth soon in bis travail, and shall get inore 
of virtues in a litUe time than another without 
ihis, or exercised in any other way of praj'er, 
ihall get in a long time for all the bodily pe- 
nance he can do. Whoso hath this need not 
ifnict his body with mare penance than this 
brings along with it, which will be enough if 
it come often. 

The third sort of prayer is only in the heart 
without speech, with great rest and quictneas 
both of soul atid body, A pure heart it be- 
lloi.'eth him to have that shall pray after this 
manner; for such only attain to it who by long 
iravail t>olh of body and soul, or else \iy such 
sharp touches or motions of love, as I have 
before mentioned, have arrived to rest of sipirii, 
10 that his affections are turned into spiritual 
savour and relish, that he is able to pray con- 
tinually in his heart, and love and prai*^e God 
^ttliout great letting of temptations or of vani- 
ties, as is said before in the chapter of the second 
wrl of ConUmpiQiion. Of this kind of prayer 
■V Paul sailh thu-S : If I fray with fh-e /I'/i^ue: 
WT sptrti praydh, but my piind is t^ithmtt fruit. 
^tliat ihen? / imll pray also in the sf^trity I 
'^iii ffoy also in the vitnd ', I wilt sing in the 
spirit, I will sin^ also tn the nitnd. 'That is 


Thi fhirdsori 


1 Cor. xiVj 14, 


The Scale of Perfection 

to say : If I pray with my tongue only, by the 
consent of my spirit, and with painstaking and 
diligence, it is meritorious, but ray soul is not 
fed by it, for it feeleth rot the fruit of spiritual 
sweetness by understanding. What then shall 
I do, ssLith St Foul} And he answers, I will 
pray with the exercise and desire of the spirit, 
and I will also pray more inwardly in my spirit 
without labour, in spiritual savour and sweet* 
ness of the love and the sight of God, by the 
which sight and feeling of love my soul is Fed. 
Thus (as 1 understand him) could -5"/ Paul pray. 
Of this manner of prayer speaketh our Lord 
Lr^H. vl. in holy Writ in a figure thus : Fin shall ahuays 
turn uficK iJt€ ailar^ which ih€ priest shall nourish, 
fuilingioood und^TTUath in the morning every day, 
thol so ths fire may not go out. That is, the fire 
of love shall ever be lighted in the soul of a de- 
vout and clean man or woman, the which is God's 
altar. And the priesl shall every morning lay to 
it sticks and nourish the fire, that is this man 
shall, by holy psalms, clean thoughts and fervent 
desires, nourish the fire of love in his heart, that 
it go not out at any time. This prayer of rest or 
quiet our Lord giveth to some of His servants, 
as it were a reward of their travail, and an 
earnest of that love and sweetness which they 
shall have in the bliss of heaven. 


How (hey should do that &re troubled with vain 
Thoughts in their Praycts 

But thou wilt say that I speak too high in this 
matter of prayer, which indeed is no mastery nor 
difficulty tor me to write it, but it were a great 
piece of mastery for a man to practise it. 


Th€ First Book 

Thou sayest that thou canst not pray thus 
d€vou:1y, nor so perfectly in heart as I speak 
of; for when thou wouldst have thy mind up- 
ward to God in thy prayer, thou feeiesC so many 
vain thoujfhts, either concerning thy own business 
or other men's, with many other lets and hin- 
drances, that thou canst neither feel savour nor 
re5t nor devotion in ihy prayers, and ofttimes 
the more thou strives! to keep thy heart the 
further it is from thee and the TiarfTer, and some- 
times continues so firom the beginning to the 
end« that thou thinkest ^11 lost Chat thou dost. 

In answer to chat which thou saidst, that I 

spake loo high of prayer, I grant well that 

\ spake more than I myself can or may do. 

Kevertheless I spake it for this intent that thou 

ihouldst know how we ought to pray ; and when 

ire cannot do so, that we should acknowledge 

viT weakness with all humility and God's mercy. 

Our Lord Himself hath commanded us thus: 

s/iitli love the Lord thy God ^ilh all thy 

■t, wiiA all thy soul and with all ihy mtghl^ 

lEts impossible for any man living to fulfil this 

Adding 50 fully as it is said. Yet our Lord hath 

bidden us so^ lo the intent, as ^7 Btrnard saith, 

i^it thereby we should know our feebleness, and 

tiffd humbly cry for mercy, and we shall have it, 

Nevertheless 1 shall instruct thee in this point 

what to do OS well as I can. 

When thou goest about to pray, first make 
ud frame betwixt thee and God m thy mind a 
fiill purpose and intention in the beginning to 
Mnre Him. then with all the powers of thy soul 
tiyihy present prayer, and then begin and do as 
"p!1 as thou canst. Though thou be never so 
ttuch letted contrary to thy former purpose, be 
^* afraid, neither be angry at thyself, nor ira- 


The Scak of Perfection 

patient against God, because He giveih thee not 
The savour arul spiritual sweetness in devotion as 
thou thinkest He giveth to others. But see therein 
thy own feebleness and bear it patiently, deem- 
ing- it to be (as it is) feeble and of no worth in thy 
own 3ig"ht, with humility of spirit ; trusting also 
firmly in the mercy of our Lord, that he will 
make it good and profitable to thee, more than 
thou ima^inest ur fceleat. For know thou well 
that thou art excused of thy duty, and thou shall 
be rewarded for this (as well as for any other 
good work done in charity )^ though thy mind and 
intention may be not 50 fully set upon it as thou 
wishest. Therefore do what belongs to thee, and 
suffer our Lord to give what He will, and teach 
Him not. Think thyself wretched and negligent, 
and as it were in great fault for such things, yet 
for thii fault and all other venials which cannot 
be eschewed in this wretched life lift up thy 
heart to Grod, acknowledging thy wretchedness, 
and cry God mercy^ with a good trust of forgive- 
ness, and strive no more therewith, nor stay any 
longer upon it, as if thou wouldst by main strength 
not feel such wretchedness, but leave off and go 
to some other good exercise, either corporal or 
spiritual, and resolve to do better the next time. 
Though thou shouldst fall another time into the 
same defect, yea, an hundred times, yea, a thou- 
sand, yet still do as I have said, and all will be 
well. Moreover a soul that never finds rest of 
heart in prayer, but all her life is striving ivitK 
her thoughts, and is troubled and letted with 
them, if she keep her in humilily and charily in 
Other things, she shall have great reward in 
heaven for her good will and endeavours. 

The First Book 



Of Mcdildlion 

Thou must understand that in meditation no cer-* 
tain rule can be set for every one to observe, lor 
ihey aj-e in the free gift of our Lord, accordiny^ to 
divers dispositions of chosen souls, and according 
as we thrive in that state and in virtues, so God 
increaseih our meditations, both in spiritaal 
knowing and loving of Him. For whoso is 
always alikt^, and at a stand in knowing of 
God and spiritual things, it seemeth that he 
profiteth and groweth but little in the love of 
God. which may be proved by the example of 
the apostles, who, when at Pentecost they were 
filled with burning love of the Holy Ghost, be- 
came thereby neither fools nor dolts, but became 
wonderful wise, both in knowing and speaking 
of God and spiritual things, as much as men 
could in mortal bodies. For thus saiih the 
Scripture: They were all filUd with th£ Holy A^tvXy. 
Ghost^ end htgan to speak (fi£ -mmidirs q/ God; 
all which knowledge they got by ravishing 
in love, through the working ot the Holy 
Ghost wilhin them. Divers sorts of jrjediiatiifns 
there be which our Lord putteth in a man's 
heart. Some of ihem shall I tell thee of that 
thou mayest exercise thyself in them. In tlia 
beginning of the conversion of such a man as 
hath been much defiled with worldly or fleshly 
sins, commonly his thoughts are much upon his 
sins with great compunction and sorrow of heart, 
with great weeping and many tears humbly and 
huj^dy asking mercy and forgiveness of God for 
them* And if he be deeply touched in conscience 


The Scale of Perfection 

J>sat«i I. 

}$fona/ Christ's 
lan Uv is 
'Vft% /rrtiy 
"^t Spin/, 

Urn, ^ 

for them (for then our Lord will soon cleanse 
hiiD from them), his sins will seem ever to be in 
his sight, and thai so fool and so horrible, ihat 
hardly can he be able to brook or endure hims'. h 
for them ; and though he confess himself never 
so clearly of them, yet will he find difliculty and 
a fretting and biiing in his consciifnce aboiic 
them, thinking that he hath not confessed right. 
And scarce can he take any rest, or be quiet, 
insomuch Chat his body were not able to undergo 
such vexation and pain, were it not that our 
Lord of His mercy sometimes coraforteth him by 
the consideration of His Passionp and devotion 
wrought in him thereto ; or by some other means 
as He seeth good. After this manner workeih 
He in some men'* hearts more or less, as He 
will, and this is through His great mercy^ that 
not only will He forgive the sin or the trespass, 
but will both forgive the trespass and the pain 
due for it in Purgoiory, for such a little pain here 
felt in the remorse and biting of conscience. 
Also, to make a man rightly to receive any 
special gift or degree of the love of God, it be- 
hoveth thai he first be scoured and cleansed by 
such a fire of compunction for all his great sins 
before done. Of this kind of exercise of com- 
punction often Dmnd speaks in the PsaUer^ but 
especially in the psalm, Miserere met, /Jevs— 
Haae mercy on me, O God. 

And then sometime after this travful and 
exercise, and sometimes together with it, such a 
man that hath been so defiled with sins, or else 
another who, by the grace of God, hath been kept 
in innocency, our Lord bestoweth on him the 
mcdilatiofi of His humanity, or of Ris birth> or 
of His Passion, and of the compassion of our 
Lady, St Mary. When this m^ditatiofi is made 

Ue First 'Book 


bylhe help of the Holy GhosI, then it is right 
pro^labie and gracious, and thou shalt know it 
by this token ; when thou art stirred to « mcdi- 
tatitm in GoA, and thy thoughts are suddenly 
drawn out from all worldly and fleshly things, 
and thou tViinkest that thou ^eest in thy sonl the 
Lord Jesus in a bodily likeness aa He was on 
earthj and how He was taken by the y^ws and 
bound as a thief, beaten and despised, scourged 
and judged to death, how lowly Re bore the cro65 
upon His back, and how cruelly He was nailed 
thereon ; also of the crown of thorns upon His 
head, and of the sharp spear that sticked Him to 
the heart ; a.nd thou in this spiritual sig'ht feelest 
ihy heart stirred to so great compassion and pity 
of thy Lord JesuSj that thou moumest and 
weepesl. and criest with all thy might of body 
and soul, wondering at the goodness, the love, 
the patience, the meekness of thy Lord Jesus, 
that He would, for so sinful a caitiff as thou arc, 
ftu^r so much pain ; and, nevertheless, thou 
seest so much goodness and mercy to be in Him 
that thy heart riseth up into a love and a joy and 
a gladness in Him^ with many sweet tears, 
having great trust of the forgiveness of thy sins 
and the salvation of thy soul by the virtue of 
thi$ precious Passion ; so that when the medi- 
tation of Christ's passion, or any part of His 
humanity is thus wrought in thy heart by such a 
spiritual sight, with devout affection answerable 
thereunto, know well that it is not of thy own 
working, nor the feigning or working of any evil 
spirit, but by the grace of the Holy Ghost. For 
it is an opening of the spiritual eye into the 
humanity of Christ, and maybe called the fleshly 
love of God, aa St Bernard saith, inasmuch as 
it is set upon the fleshly nature of Christ, and it 


The Scale of Perfection 

is rig"ht good, and a ^rf^at help for the destroy- 
ing' of great sins, anil a good way to come to 
virtues, and so after to the ConUniplation of the 
Godhead. For a man shall not come to the 
spiritual light in ConUmphtitm of Christ's God- 
head, unless first he be exercised in imagination 
with bitterness and compassion, and in stedfast 
thinking of His humanity^ Thus St Paul did, 
I C'>r, ii, and therefore first he saith ; / desireti io kna^ 
nothing m>wng yon hit Jt^siis Christ and Him 
crucified. As if he had said: My knowing 
and my faith is only in the Passion of Christ; 
and therefore he &aith thus also: God fifrbid 
2 sheitld rejoice {n anything, save in the cross of 
Christ. Nevertheless afcenvard he saith s Ive 
preach unto you Christ, the power of God and the 
wisdswi of God, As who should say : First I 
preached of the humanity and Passion of Christ ; 
now T preach to you of the Godhead, that Christ 
is the power of God, and the endless wisdom 
of God. 

Tkr Jiif^iiin- Bui ihls manner of meditation a man hath 
tit\»tsii}ifPas. not always when he would» but only when our 
Lord Will give it. Unto some He giveth it all 
their lifetime by fits, when He visiteth them \ 
some men being so tender in theiraffections that, 
when they hear men speak or think themselves 
of this precious Passion, their hearts melt into 
devotion, and are fed and Comforted thereby 
against all manner of temptations of the enemy^ 
and this is a great gift of God. To some men 
He giveth it plentifully at the first, and after- 
wari-s withdraws it for divers causes, cither if 
A'^d'Khy. a pnan grow proud of it in his own eyes, or for 
some other sin by which he disableth himself 
to receive the grace ; or else our Lord with- 
draweth it, and all other devotions sometimes, 

Stioii is cffen 

The First Book 


because He wtU sufier him to be tried with 
teicptatjons of the enemy, and thereby will dis- 
pose a man to understand and feel our Lord more 
apijiiually, for so He saith to His disciples: It s^/o^xvi, 
IS expedient for you ikat I go frway from yoti \{n 
My body\^ for except I go the Holy Ghost wilt not 
comM. As long as He was with them they loved 
Hin) much, but it was fleshly according to 
His humanity, and therefore it was necessary 
that He should withdraw His bodily presencij, 
that the Holy Ghost mig-ht come to them and 
teach them how to love Him and know Him 
more spirilually, as He did at Patiecosl. Right 
so, it is eipedient for some that our Lord with- 
draw a little the fleshly and bodily image from 
the eye of their soul, tliat their heart may be set 
and fixed more busily in spiritual desire and 
seeking of His divinity. 


Of divers T^mpiatioos cE the Enemy, and the 
Remedies agLUnat them 

Tentpia iions 

LiHELESS it behoveth a man to suffer tnany 
itions first, which shall befall some men 
after that their comfort is withdrawn, and 
that sundry ways by the malice of the enemy- 
As thus : when the devil percelveth devotion 
much withdrawn, that the soul is left, as it were, 
naked for a time, then sendeth he to some temp- 
tations of lust, of gluttony, and these so hot and 
burning that they shall think they never felt so 
grievous ones in all their life before, even when 
they gave themselves most to such sins. Inso- 
much as they think it impossible to stand out long 
Jrom falling without help. And, therefore, have 

k — 


The Scale of Pcrfcclion 

they then much sorrow for lack of comfort and 
devotion which formerly they have had, and. 
much dread also of falJing from God by such 
open &ins. All this the devil workelh (by God's 
permission) to make them repent of their gx>od 
purposes, and turn back to their former courses 
of winning-. But whoso will abide, and suffer a 
little pain, and not turn ai^ain to ain for any- 
thing, the band of our J-Xfrd is full near, and will 
help them right soon, for He hath much care of 
thai man that is in such a case^ though he 
^^ knoweth it not; for so saith Dffvid in the person 

of our Lord : / am ztfi//t him in ^ou6lct I tuiU 
deliver him^ and he shall glorify Jifs. The 
devil temptelh others maliciously to spiritual 
sins^ as to doubt of the articles of faith, or of 
the Sacrament of our Lord's blessed Body. AUo 
to despair, or blaspheme of God or any of His 
saints, or to a wearisomeness of their own life, or 
to bitterness against others, or foolish melan- 
choly and sadness, or too much fear of them- 
selves, of doing" hurt to their healths by giving 
themselves so much to serving of God< Some 
Others, and namely solitary folks, he frighleth 
with dreads and ugly shapes appearing to their 
eyes or to their imaj^nations, causing often 
thereby great shakings and quakings in their 
bodies, either sleeping or waking, and so trou- 
bletb them that they can hardly take any rest. 
And also many other ways he lempteth, more 
than I can or may say. 
Tkt WTHediei The remedies for such may be these. First; 

..ffimpfaii^nJ ^-^^^ ^^ ^ a|l ^^ J^ ^ ^ - J ^ j 

Satan. Chnst, and often call to mind His Passion and 

the pains that He suffered for us, and ihat they 
then believe stedfaslly that all sorrows and tra- 
vail which they suifer in such temptations, which 

Th€ First Book 


to unskilful m«n may seem a forsaking' by God, 
are indeed no ^uch leavings or forsaking'Sj but 
trials for their good, either for deansing- of their 
former sins or lor the great increasing' of their 
reward an<I the dispo^iny of lliem for more grace, 
if they will but sutffT awhile and stand fast, that 
thev turn not again willingly to sin. 

Another remedy is that they fear not, nor 
esteem these malicious stirrings for sins, nor lay 
to heart that despair or blasphemy, or doubtings 
of sacrament, or any such other, though never so 
ugly to hear; for the feeling of lliese UmpUUvms 
delile the soul no more than if they heard a hound 
bark or felt the biting of a flea. They vex the 
souJ indeed, but do not harm it, if so be a man 
despise them and set them at nought, for it is 
not good to strive with them, as if thou wouldst 
cASt thexn out by mastery and violence, for the 
more they strive with them the more they cleave 
to Ihem. And therefore they shall do well to di- 
vert their thoughts &"om them as much as they 
can, and set them upon some business. And if 
they will still hang upon them, then it is good 
for them that ihey be not angry nor heavy 
through feeling of them ; but with a good trust 
in God bear them ''like a bodily sickness and 
scourge of our Lord for the cleansing of their 
sins as long as He pleaseth) out of love to Rim, 
even as He wa!i willing to be hcourged and bear 
His cross for the love of them. Moreover, it is 
^ood for them to open their minds to some wise 
man in the beginning, before these temptations 
gvri rooting in their heart, and that they forsaka 
their own wit and judgement and fallow the coun- 
sel of another. But that they show them not un- 
advisedlv or lightly to any unskilful or worldiv 
man, who never felt such temptations, for such 


The Scale of Perfection 

may happily by their unskilfulness bring a simple 
soul into despair. 
Jhirirrnf^vaf Of this manner o{ kmpiatioTi, by which a man 
jiT'iA'f^^'^ seemeth forfiaken of God, and is not^ the help and 
to rom* from comfort IS this : The Lord saith by His fropiui^ 
Gad. For a Ulili. spare have I lefi ths£, hut m grea/ 

JsaMatiiv. mercy mil J gatker fkfc. For a momini &/ in- 
dr'gntiii'on havr: I hid My face a little while from 
thee, and in viercy sverlasling will I have mercy 
on thcc. As if lie had said, I suffered thee to 
be troubled a little while, and in a point of My 
wrath I smote thee ; that is to say, the penance 
and the piiin that thou sufferest here is but a 
point or little prick of My wrath, in regard of 
the pain of bell or of purgatory. Yet in My 
manifold mercies I shall gather the© ; when thou 
tbinkeit tliyself fursaken, then will 1 of My great 
mercv gatiier thee again to Me \ for when thou 
cstecmest thyself, as it were, lost, then shall our 
/rf KL Lord help thee, as y^ sailh : Whtn thou, shalt 
think thyself ovtsunud^ thou shalt arise as the 
day-star, and thoii sh^lt hand cmfidrjjce. That 
is to say, when thou art brought so low b/ tra- 
vail into lemptaiion that thou de>pairest of help 
or comfort, Hke a forlorn man, yet stand stiffly in 
hope and pray to God, and vcnly thou >halt sud- 
denly spring up as the day-stur, in glMness of 
heart, and have a sure trust in God. 

Moreover, for the comfort of such men, thai 
they may not despair in templalion, the wise 
^.ed. \\r, iB, man saith tliu^ of our Lord : In tcmpUUttm 
He 'Wiilkcfti "xilh hitn, and hringeth fear and dread 
upon hitrit and tonncnts him with His disciplint:, 
till He try him in his cogifafimis, a?id may truiS 
His sonl : And He loill e^iahlisk him^ and make 
ti [direct :vity unto him, and jnake him Had, and 
Tei/i dfschse His secrets to him^ and mil neap uf<m 

The First Book 


itra ns Irinsurcs knird'hdge of under sttifufing ond 
ft^ticc* The wise man, because he would have 
not despair ir temptation, lo comfort ihft^m saith 
thus: /w UmptiJti(*n intr Lord forsdketh not a man, 
du/ go€ih wtth him from iht beginning to /V/ff cfui. 
VoT be saith first. He chooseth hiniT and that is, 
when He draweth a man to Him by comfort of 
devotion, and afterward bringeih upon him sorrow 
and dread and trials, and that is when He with- 
draweth devotion and sufferelh bim to be tempted. 
And he saith that He lormenteth him in tribula- 
tion until He hath well tried him in his thoughts, 
and until a man will put all his tru^^t in Him 
fully, and then He bringcth him out into the 
right way, and fasteneih him to Him, and glad- 
deneth him, and sheweth him His secrets, and 
gi\-€th him His treasure of knowing and under- 
standing of righteousness. 

By these words may you see that these i'/«//«- 
iums or any other, be they never so ugly, ara 
expedient and profitable lo a man that by grace 
ti iTi full will to forsake sin, if he will be willing 
to suffer and abide God's will, and not turn again 
to ^in which he hath forsaken, for any sorrow, 
or pain, or dread of such temptations; but ever 
stiind still in travail and in prayer with good 
hopp. Our Lord of His enJless goodness hav- 
ing pitv and mercy of all His creatures, when 
He sccth lime, will put to His hand and smile 
down the devil and all his power, and ease him 
of his travail, and put away all dreads and 
sorrows and darkness out of his heart, and 
brings into his soul the light of grace, opening 
the eye thereof lo see, that all tlie travail that 
be hath had was expedient for him, giving him 
also fresh spmtual might to withstand all the 
suggestions of the fiend and all deadly sins 


The Scale of Perfection 

without great difficulty, and leadelh him into a 
stability anJ settledness af virtue and good liv- 
iT\g ; in wliich^ if he keepeth himself humble to 
the eiidj then will lie take him wKolly to him- 
self. Thus much have I said^ that thou might^^t 
not be troubled or letted with any such tempta- 
tion, or too much afraid; but do as I have said, 
and better if thou canst, and I hope through ihe 
gfrace of Jeaua Christ thou shalt never be over- 
come by thine enemy. 
Tnic A^d 0/ But after thou hast escaped these temptations, 
'/J"'T r^" Of e3^«? if <^^^ Lord hath so kept thee (as He dorh 

tkitu hasi pas- , ,,. . ^, . ^f , \ . . 

udthestitmp- many by His merc^'j that thou hast not been 
taiioHs, troubled much with any such, then it is good for 

thee that thou beware of turning thy rest into 
idleness; for there is many a man that taketh 
rest upon him too soon, as if he were ripe for 
test in Contemplation^ But if thou wilt do well, 
begin a new g:ame and a new travail, atid that 
ip, by rmditationy to enter within into thy own 
soulj for to know what it is, and by the know- 
ing thereof to come to the spiritual knowledge 
of God- For St Austin saith. By the knowing 
of myself 1 shall get ihe knowledge of (xod, 
I say not that such exercise is absolutely ne- 
cessar^^t and thy bounden duly, unless thou feel 
thyself stirred up by grace, and as it were 
called thereto. For our Lord giveth divers gifts 
where He pleaseth, not all to one man. nor one 
to every man, save the gift of charity, which is 
common lo all. 

Therefore, if a man have received a gift &om 
God, as devotion in prayer, or in the Passion of 
Christ, or any oiher, be it never so little, let him 
not leave it quickly for any other, unless he as- 
surpdly find and feel a belter, but hold that which 
he hath, and exercise himself therein seriously, 

ever desiring a better when God will give it. 

TSevenVieless, if that be withdrawn somewhat, 
and he seeth a better, and feel&th his hean 
stiireC thereto, then seemelh it to be a calling 
oi Dur Lord to the better, and then is it time 
that be follow after it, to g-et it, and fall to 
practise it as speedily as he may. 


That a Mac shouli know iLe tue&suTe of his Gift, 
ihal he may desire and lake a belEcr when God 
siveth it 

Our holy Fathers heretofore taught us that we 
should know the measure of our gift, and there- 
fore to work upon it, and accordirg to it, and not 
take upon u^, out of our head or imagination, to 
have more in our feeling- or ability than indeed 
we have. We may ever desire the best, but we 
may not ever work the best or our utmost, be- 
cause we hav^ not yet received that grace and 
ability. A hound that runneth after the hare 
only because he seeth other hounds run, when he 
is weary, he stayeth aitd restelh. or turneth home 
again; but if he run because he seeth or is in 
view of the hare, he will not spare for wearinesfl 
(in he have caught her. Right so it is in the 
spiritual course, whoso hath grace, bo it never 
so little, and wittingly leaveth it, and the work- 
hig upon it, and putteth himself to the exercise 
or practice of another kind, for which he hath not 
as yet received a gift or grace, but doth it only 
because he seeth, readeth, or heareth that some 
others do so, he may perhaps run awhile till he 
be weary and then will ho turn home again, and 
if he be not the more wary, may hurt his feet 

The Scale of Perfection 

with such fancies before he get home. But he 
that conlinueth working upon such grace as he 
haih, and huinbly heggeth by prayer perseve- 
ranity for more, and after feeleth his heart stirred 
to follow after the grace which he desired, he 
may securely run, if he Iteep himself humble. 
Therefore, desire of God as much as thou wiU 
or canst, without measure or moderation at all 
concerning any thing that belongs to His love 
or Heaven's hHss, for he that can desire most of 
God shall feel and receive most ; but work as 
thou mayest and cry God mercy, for that Chou 
canst not do. Thus Si Paul seems to mean, 
0>T. viL when he said ; Every ofie hafh a proper gt/l of 
Gud, one so, and tifictJtir so. Also, when he said : 

r dr. nil ^^cre are varieties o/ giftt, to one is given the wtyrd 
ff misdontt to aiwiher ifie wttrd of kn&wiedge^ etc 

Bphrs iv. And also when he said: To e^tfy one of us is 
given gracSy according to She measure of tne dona- 
tion of Christ. And furihen where he said : 
That we may km^v the things fh<zt are given us 
fy God. He sailii that every one hath his gift 
of God : For to every man Skat shall he saved is 
given a grace according lo tlu measure of Christ's 
gift. Therefore it is speedful that we know the 
gifts that are given us by God, that we may \\ ork 
in them, for by those we shall be saved, a»i some 
by bodily works, and by deeds of mercy, some 
by great bodily penance, some by sorrow and 
weeping for their sins all their lifetime, some by 
preaching and teachingj some by divers graces 
and gifts of devotion shall be saved and come 
to bhss. 



Of the Knowledge of a Man's Soul lad the Powen 

thereof ncc^ssaiy to Contemplation 

Thejie is one work more very needliil and ex- 
pedient to travail, in which 1 esteem also to be 
the plain highway in our working' (as much as 
may be) to ContemphUon ; and that is, for a man to 
enter into himself, to know iiis own soul* and the 
powers thereof. 

By this inward sight thou shnlt come to see 
the nobility and dignity that naturally it had in 
it£ first creation ; and thgu shalt also see the 
wretchedness and the mischief which thou art 
fallen into by sin. From this sight will arise 
a desire with great longing in thine heart to 
recover agam that dignity and nobleness which 
thou hast lost. Also thou ahalt feel a loathing 
and detestation of thyself, with a great will and 
desire to destroy and beat down thyself and all 
things that let thee from that dignity and that 
joy. This is a spiritual work, hard and sharp in 
the beginning, for those that will go speedily and 
seriuiisly about it. Far it is an exercise in the 
soul against the ^ound of all sins, little and 
great, which ground is nought else but a false 
mistrusted love of man to himself- Out of this 
lo^-e, as St Austin saith, springeth all manner 
of *«iiiT deadly and venial. 

Verily until this ground be well ransacked 
and deep digged, and as it were dried up by 
casting out of all fleshly and worldly loves and 
fe^us, a soul can never spiritually feel the burn- 
ing love of Jesus Christ nor have the homeliness 

' Thn fwmcB* and tbe fonlncds of it. 


The Scale of Perfection 


of Ht3 gfracious presence, nor have a dear sight 
of spiritual things by light in the understanding. 
This then must be the travail and labour of a 
fnan, to draw his heart and mind from the fleshly 
love anil liking of all earthly creatures, from vain 
thoughts- and from fleshly imaginations and from 
the love and vicious feeling of himself, so that the 
soul shrill or may finti or take no rest in any 
fleshly thoughts or worldly affections- Then in- 
asmuch as the soul cannot as yet find her spiri- 
tual rest and satisfaction in the sight and lovt of 
Jesus, therefore it must needs be that in the 
meanwhile she must tind and feci some pain and 

This pain and travail is somewhat straight 
and narrow^ nevertheles>i I hope it is the way 
which Christ leacheth to ihem that would be His 
Zvifjuik perfect lovers in the Gospel, saying: Strive io 
en!^ in ai ths sfrutt ,^(ite, for slratf is the 
gaic^ and Totrrow is the rujy that Icadcth io ii/f^ 
and /av men find it. How strait this way is. 
He lelleth us in another place; Whoso Tviti 
SiMait. xvL corrt^ after me, let him fi/rsake himself and hale 
St John xiL his OTvn soui. That is to say, forsake all fleshly 
love and hate his own carnal life and vain liking 
of all his bodily senses for love of Me ; and take 
the cross, that is suffer the pain of this awhUe 
and then follow Me; that is to say, in Con- 
UmpiatiQti of My Humanity and of My Divinity. 
This is a strait and narrow way that no bodily 
thing can pass through it, for it is a slaying of all 
sin, as Si Paul saith: Mortify your members 
Ikiit are upon earthy not the members of our body 
but of our soul, as unctsanness^ tus/, evit etm- 
cupiscfitcc, avarice, fond love to ourselves and 
earthly things. Therefore as thy endeavour has 
been heretofore to resist bodily sins and open 

/««. lir. 

The First Book 


temptations of the enemy, and that in matters as 
it were from without; right so it behoveth thee 
now, in this spiritual work uilhin thyself, to batter 
down and destroy the groand of sin in thyself as 
much as ihou canst. Which that thou mayesc h^ 
better able to perform, I shall give thee the best 
counsel I can. 



Of the "WotlbloCfiS md Excellency of xh^ SouI ani how 

it woa losL 

The soul of a man ia a life consistirg- of ihree /fevmanir 
powers, ^ftmory^ Umicrst'indtng and Will-, afier '*''«Hfo/' 
the image and likeness of the Blessed Trijiity ; jU^Jl'^ 
inasmuch as the Memory was made strong and 
siedfa&t by the power of the Father to hold and 
retain God in perpetual remembrance, without 
forgetting, distracting or letting of any creature, 
and so it haih the likeness of the Father. The 
(/tidt:ritanding was made bright and clear, with- 
out error or darkness, as perfectly as a soul in a 
body utiglorjfied could have, and so it hath the 
likeness and image of the Son. who is infinite 
wisdom, The Will and affections were made 
pure and clean, burning in love towards God, 
without sensual love of the flesh or of any crea- 
ture by the sovereign goodness of God the Holy 
(thost, and so it hath the likeness of the tloly 
Ghost, which is blessed love. Whereby you 
may see that man's sool (which may be called 
a created Trinity} was in its natural estate re- 
plenished in its three powers with the remem- 
brance, sight and love of the most blessed un- 
created Trinity, which is God. 

This was the dignity and worth of man's soul 


The Scale of Perfection 

rdaeu A> sin. 

by nature at his first creation, which thou hadst 
Jlvwhchsiif. in AJum before the first sin. But when Adam 
sinned, choosing love and d^Hght in himself and 
in the crtatures, he lost all his excellency and 
dignity^ and thou, also, in him, and fell from that 
Jilessed Trinity into a foul, dark, wretched trlnilyi 
ihat is to say, into forgetting of God and igno- 
rance of himself, and into a beastly love and 
liking of himself, and all this he did wittingly 
and wilHng-ly. For, as Dat'sd saith in the 
Psalter: Man betrtg in honour utid-crshod ii ngf, 
tuid, there/ort^ Ite losf ii, avd btcams like a beast. 

See then the ^VTetchedness of thy soul, for as 
the Mctnory was something established and fixed 
upon God, so now it hath forgotten Him and 
sefketh its rest in the creatures, now in one 
creature and thpn in another, and never can find 
full rest, having lost Him in whom is full rest. 
So it ia with the l/ndfrUiinding ax\*\ iho If/// and 
affections, both which were pure in spiritual 
favour and sweetness but now is turned into a 
foul, beastly lost and liking in itself and in the 
creatures and in fleshly favours, both in the 
senses as in gluttony and lechery ; and in the 
imagination, as in pride, v^in-glory and covetous- 
ness. insomuch that thou canst do no good deed 
but it is defiled with vain-glory ; nor canst thou 
easily make use of any of thy five senses cleanly 
upon anything that is ph:asain, but thy heart 
will be taken and enliamed with a vain lust and 
liking of it, which putteth out the love of God 
from thy heart, so that no feeling of love or 
spiritual favour may come itilo it. 

Every man that liveth in spirit understandeth 
well all this. This is the soul's wretchedness and 
our mischief for the first man's sin besides all 
other wretchedness and sins which thou ha?^t 

vtilfuHy added thereto. And know thou tvlU 
ihil hadst thou never committed a.ny sin with 
^y body, either mortal or venial, but only this 
which is called original [for that is the first sin. 
and is nothing eJse but the losing of our 
hghieousnesa which we were created in), ihou 
il^i^uldst never have been saved^ had not our 
Lord Jesus Ciirist by His precious Passion de- 
Uvereu Ihee, and restored thee again. 

Andj therefore, if thou think I have herein 
spoken too high, because thou canst neither under- 
aiand it w*ll, nor practise it according' as I have 
delivered, I will now descend to thee, and fail as 
low as thou canst desire, both for xhy profit and 
my own. Then say thus : though thou be never 
&o much a wretch, atid hast committed never so 
great sins, do but fors^Jke thyself and all thy works 
done, both" good and bad, and cry God mercy, and 
ask salvation only by virtue of thiH precious Pas- 
sion, and that with a good trust* and without 
doubt thou shalt have it. And as for original 
sin, and all other thou shalt be safe, yea, as safa 
a^ an anchoret that is enclosed. And not only 
thou, but all Christian souls that trust upon His 
Passion and humble themselves, acknowledging 
their wretchedness, asking mercy and forgive- 
ness, and Che fruit of this precious Passion only, 
and submitting themselves to the Sacraments of 
holy Church, chough it be so that they have 
been encumbered with sin all their Htetime, and 
ne\-er had feeling of spiritual favour or sweetness^ 
or ghostly knowledge of God, yet shall they in 
this faith, and in their good will, by virtue of this 
precious Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ be safe, 
and come to the bliss of Heaven^ 

All this thou knowest well, but yet it delights 
me lo recite and speak of it, that thou mayestsee 

tkis, man maf 
hi strueii hy 
ihf Past inn 
of Olrttf, h* 

He t^trt-er ja 


The Scale of Perfection 

taaii sianrrs. 


~ TTieen^ra the GTidless mercv of our Lord, how low He 

T.*'':7_f_^^ falleth to thee and'to me and to all sinful caitifTsj 

ask mercy chpreforp, and have it. Thus saith ihe 

Prophet in the person of our Lord : £very one 

that calUlh upon the Name of out Lord shalt be 

Remans K. sovfit; that is to say, asketh salvation by Jesus 

and His Passion. 

Wkoshailhe This coLirtesy of our Lord some men under- 

pariakefs of stand aH^'bt, and are saved thereby ; and others 

not!'^*'^" in tru'^C of this mercy and :his courtesy lie ^till in 

their sins, and think to have the benefit otit when 

■ they list, but they are mistaken, for they are taken 

■ ere they are aware, and so damn themseh'es. 

I wi, ji ^"* ^^^'^ ^'^^ object: If this be true that thou 

ftpa^fj^Z sayeht, I wonder greatly at that which I find in 
/oi'f of/esjLS some holy men's books, for some say (as 1 undcr- 
Ae nfctssaij> staid tlieii:^ that he that cannot love this blessed 
Name Jesus nor find and feel in it spiritual ioy 
and dL'liyht with sweetness, shall be a siranger 
to the bliss of Heaven, ard never come there. 
Verily when I read these worda^ they astonished 
me, making me afraid. For T hope (as you have 
said) that through ihe merc>' of our Lord they 
shall be safe, by keeping of the tiommandmenta 
and by true repentance for their former evil life, 
who never felt any such spiritual sweetness, in 
the Name of Jesus, and therefore I marvel the 
more^ to find them say (as me thinketh] the con* 
trary hereto. 

To this I answer that (in my opinion) their 
saying (if it be well understood) is true, and no 
wbit contrary to what I have said, for this Name 
Jesus is nothing else in English but healer or 
health. Now every man that liveih in this 
wretched life is spiritually sick, for there is no 
man that liveth witlicut sin, which is a spiritual 
sickressj as St John saith of himself, and of other 

end ho^. 

The Fiist Book 


perfect men thus: // wf say we have no sir/, we '-^'A**!- 
begiiiU ourseivesy and thcrt is no truth in us. 

Therefore he can never come to the joy of ^d 

Heaven, till he be first healed of this ghostly H 

sickness. But this spiritual healing may no ^| 

man have (that hath the use of reason) except ^| 

he desire it, and love it» and have delight there- ^| 

in, inasmuch as he hopeth to get it. Now the ^| 

Name of Jesus is nothing else but this spiritual ^| 

health ; wherefore it is true that they say, that ^H 

no man can be safe, unless hi^ Love and liki^ the H 

Name of Je^us ; for no man can be spiritually ^| 

healed, until he love and desire spiritual health'; ^| 

just as if a man were bodily sick, there could no ^| 

earthly thing- be so dear, nor so needful to him, ^| 

nor so much would he desire it, as bodily health \ ^| 

for thoiJg"h thou shouJdst give him all the digni- ^| 

lies and riches of this world, and not make him H 

whole (if thou couldst), thou pleaseth him noL ^| 

Ki^ht so it is to a m^n that is sick spiritually, ^| 

and feeleth the pain thereof; nothing* is so dear, ^| 

nor so needful, nor so much coveted by him» as ta ^| 

ghostly health, and that is Jesus, without whom ^| 

all the joys of Heavi?n cannot please him. And ^H 

this is the reason [as I take it) why our Lord ^| 

when He took man's nature upon Him for ouc ^| 

salvation, would not be called bv a nama be- ^| 

tokening" His infinite essence, or Hia wisdomp ^| 

or His justice^ but only by that which betokened ^| 

the cause of His coming, namely, the salvation of H 

man's soul^ which salvation this name Jc:4us be- ^| 

tokened. Hereby, then, it appeareth that none H 

can he saved unless he love salvation, to have it ^| 

ihrough ihe mercy of our Lord Jesus only, by the H 

merits of His passion ; which love he may have H 

that liveth and dieth in the very lowest degree of H 

chanty. ^| 


The Scale ol Perfection 

Also I may affirm on the other side, that he 
that cannot luve this blessed name Jeaus with a 
spiritual joy, nor increase in it with heavenly 
melody here, shall never have nor feel in Heaven 
the fijlness of sovereign joy, which he that could 
so love it in this life by abundance of perfect 
charity in Jesus shall then have and feel in 
Heaven, and so may their saying be understood. 

Nevertheless he shall be sa,ved. and have 
great reward in Heaven from God, whosoever in 
this life is in the lowest degree of charity by 
keeping God's commandments. For our Lord 
st/oh'ixW. saith : In My Father's house are sundry mtin- 
stons. Some are perfect souls, who in this life 
are filled with charily and graces of the Holy 
Spirit, ard sing* most sweetly and loving'Iy to 
God in Contemplaiitm of Him, with wonderful 
sweetness and heavenly savour. These because 
they have most charity and grace of the Holy 
Ghost shall have the highest reward in the bliss 
of heaven, for these are called God's darlings. 
Others there be, not disposed or enabled to Con- 
UmpiattoUy nor having the perfection of charity 
(as the apostles and martyrs had in the begin- 
ning of the holy Church), these shall have a 
lower reward in the bliss of Heaven, for these 
are called Goa's friends; for thus doth our 
Lord call them ; £ai, My friends^ arid he 
iTubriaUd^ O My darlings. As if He had said: 
Ye that are My friends, because ye have 
kept My commandments, and preferred My love 
before the Jove of the world, and loved me more 
than any earthly thing, ye shall be fed with the 
spiritual food of the Bread of life. But ye that 
are more than My friends, that not only kept 
My commandments, but also nf your own free will 
fulEUed My counsels, and loved Me entirely with 

GiJU/'f- 5- 

f^e First Book 


i^l tbe po^vers of your aoul% and burned in My 
VjvcwitlY spiritual delight (as especially did the 
i^^stles and martyrs and all other souls that 
IhTDUgh grace came to the gift of perfeciion) ye 
5haU be made drunken with the noblest and 
fre^Tiest v/lne in My cellar, which is the supreme 
]0j of love in heaven* 



That ■ Man sdoutd be induslrLom lo recover Again 
his ancient Dignity, and reform within him ihe 
Image ot the Trinity, and Low it may be done 

Nevertheless, though this that I have said be This mrrry 
true, through the eadles^s mercy of God to thee and ^'*' *** *^ 
tome and to all mankitiil we are not, Inerelore, upott. 
in confidence hereof to be more careless, or wil- 
fiilJy negligent in our living; but the more busy 
to please Him, and the rather, because now w© 
are restored again in hope by the passion of our 
Lord, to the dignity and bliss which we had lost 
by Atiam's sin. ThouKlh we should prove not to 
be able to recover it fully here in this life, yet 
should we desire and endeavour to recover the 
image and likeness of the dignity we had, so 
that our soul inight be reformed, as it were in 
a shadow, by grace to the image of the Trinity 
which we had by nature, and hereafter shall 
have fully in bliss. For that is the life which 
is truly contemplative to begin here, in that feel- 
jfig of love and spiritual knowing of God, by 
opening of the spiritual eye, which shall never 
he lost nor taken away, but shall be perfected in 
a far higher manner in heaven. Thus did our 
Lord promise to St Mary Ulagdahn (that was 



The Scale of Perfection 


Thh fiHa^ it 

ptr/ttf!j in 
ihU iij€. 


a true CottkmpiiUtvc) when He told her i^ai 
$h£ had ehf>s^n the bi-ller part (which was the 
love of God in CQntcmpiitiwn) that should ncaer 
he ttth.n from hfr. 

I do not say that in this life thou canst re- 
cover so whole and so perfect a cleannesa and 
innocency, knowing and loving of God, as thou 
hadst at firat, and shalt have hereafter, neither 
mayest esizape all the wretchedness and pains 
of &m ; nor that thou living in mortal flesh 
canst wholly destroy and kill within thee all 
false vain loves^ nor eschew all venial sins, but 
that they will [unleas they be stopped by great 
fervour of charity) spring out of thv hearty as 
water doth out of a stinking' welh But 1 wish 
that if thou canst not fully quench it, yet thou 
mayest somewhat slack it, and come as near as 
thou canst to cleanness of soul. For our Lord 
promised to the children of Isratly when He led 
them into the land of Promise, and in them by 
a figure to all Christians, saying r Alt the land 
which thy /oift shall tread upan shall he thine. 
That is to say, so much laud as thou canst tread 
upon with thy foot of true desire, »o much shalt 
thou have in the land of Promise, namely, in the 
bliss of Heaven, when thou comest thither. 


Xbat ibis Dignit7 and Image is rcston*':! by Jesu^ 

and how He is to be desired, souEfht and foun4 

'jV>m> J^sui it Sef.Kj then, that which thou hast lost^ that thou 
robgrnu^fit. mayest find ii ; for well I wor, whosoever once 
hath an inward sight, but a Httle of that dignity 
and that spiriiunl fairness which a soul hath by 
creation, and shall have again by ^ace, he will 

The First Book 


loatlie in his heart all the bliss, th« liking and 
the fairness of this world, as the stink of 
carrion; and he will never have any will or mind 
to do other deed, night or day fsave what mere 
need of nature requireth) but desire, mourn, seek, 
and pray how he may come again thereto* 

Nevertheless inasmuch as thou hast not as yei By ffesin»g 
seen what it is fully, for thy spiritual eye is not ^■'«- 
yct opened, I shall tell thee one word for all, in 
the which thou shah seek, desire and find it; for 
in that one word is all that thou hast lost, lliis 
word is Jesus : I mean not this word Jesus painted 
upon the wall, as written in letters on the book, 
or formed by lips in sound of the mouth, or 
framed in thy mind by imagination, for in this 
wise may a man that is void of charity find Him ; 
but 1 mean Jesus Christ, that blessad Person, 
trod and Man. Son of the Virgin Mary, whom 
this name betokencth ; that is all goodness, end- 
less wisdom, love and sweetness, thy joy, thy 
glory, and thy everlasting bliss, thy God, thy 
Lord, and thy salvation. 

If, then, thoa feelest a great desire in thy 
heart to Jesus, ftither by calling to mind this 
name Jesus, or by minding, or thinking, or say- 
ing of any other word ; or in Prayer, or Medita- 
tion, or any other deed which thou dost; which 
desire is so much, that it putteth out, as it were, by 
force all other thoughts and deairea of the world, 
and of the flesh, that they rest not in Ihy heart ; 
then s«efcest thou well thy Lord Jesus. And when 
thoti feelest this desire to God, or to Jesus (for 
it IS all one), holpen and comforted by a ghostly 
might, insomuch that it Is turned into love, affec* 
tion, and spiritual savour and sweetness, into 
light and knowing of truth, so that for the time^ 
the point of thy thought is set upon no other 


The Scale of Perfection 

created thirg-, nor feeleth any snrring' of vam- 
g^lor)'. nor of self-love, ror any other evil affec- 
tion (for they cannot appear at tliat time), but 
this thy desire is only enclosed, rested, softened, 
suppled, ard anointed in Jesus, fJieJi hasf thou 
found somtru'h'jf of 'Je^us : I mean not Him as 
He ia, but a shadow of Him ; for the better that 
thou findest Him, the more shak thou desire 
Him. Then observe by what manner of prayer, 
or meditation, or exercise of devotion thou find- 
est greatest and purest desire stirred up in thee 
to Him, and most feeling of Him, by that kind 
of prayer, exercise or work seekest thou Him. 
best, and shalt best find HLm. Therefore if it 
come into thy mind, asking as it were of thy- 
self: IVhai hast thou tost, and what seekest thi>u f 
lift up thy mind and the desire of thy heart 
to Jesus Christ, though thou be blind^ and canst 
see nought of His Godhe^-Ld, and say that: Htm 
hast tiiuit lost, and Him TVoiildsi thou have, arid 
twthing but Him^ to he with Him where He is. 
No other jay\ no other bliss in Heaven or in 
earthy but Him. 

And though it be so, that thou feelest Him in 
devotion, or in knowing, or by any other pift 
or grace, rest not there, as though thou hadst fully 
found Jesus; but forget that which thou hast 
found, and always be desiring after Jesus more 
and more, to Snd Him better, as though thou 
hadst right nought found in Him. For wot 
thou well, that what thou feelest of Him, be it 
never so much, yea, though thou wert ravished 
with St Ptiul into the third heaven, yet hast thou 
not found Jesus as He is in His joy; know 
thfhUj or feel thou never so much of Hira, He is 
still above it. And therefore, if thou wilt fully 
find Him, as He is in His joy, do thou never 

The First Book 


cease from spiritual desiring and loving of Him, 
whilst ihou Uvest. 

Verily I had rather feel and have a true and 
clean desire in my heart to my Lord Jesus Christ, 
though I see little of Ilim with my spiritual eye, 
than to have without this desire all the bodily 
penance of all men living*, all visions, all revela- 
tions of Angels appearing, all songs and sound- 
ing to the ear, all tastes and smelHngs, fervours 
or any delights, or bodily feelings, and (to be 
brief, all the joys of heaven and earth which ate 
possible to be had, without this desire to my 
T_ord Jesus. David the Prophet felt (as I con- 
ceivej this desire in himself, when he said thus : 
What fiGve I in Hearsn but Thee, and what can 
I desire en earth bestJes Ihee ? As if he had said, 
Lord Jesus, what heavenly joy is liking to me 
without desire of Thee, whilst I am on earth, or 
without love of Thee when I come to Heaven ^ 
As who should say, right none. If, then, thou 
wilt feel anything of Him, bodily or spiritually, 
covet nothing but only to feel in truth within 
ihee a desire of His grace and of His merciful 
presence, so that thou mayest think that it is not 
possible for thy heart to find any rest in anything 
but in Him. Thus coveted David, when he said 
thus : J/y ioul hath caveied, or longed ufieft the 
desire c/ thy righteousness nt oil times. Seelc, 
then, as Duvid did. desire by desire* And if thou 
feelestj by thy desire in prayers and in medica- 
tions, the familiar presence of Jesus Christ in 
thy soul, bind thy heart fast thereto, that it fall 
not from it ; and if thou shouldst stumblej that 
thou maye^t soon find Him again. 

Seek, then, Jesus, whom thou hast lost, for 
He would he sougbl» and is desirous to be found, 
for He Himself saitk: Eitery one thai seekelh 

it is io hiiifr 
tkr desire v/ 

PiaJrti Ixxii. 

Ptalpi ciEVLlit ^ 

In Af Sought 
St MiilU »ii. 


The Scale of Perfection 

P/ouw tL 

Si Luit XV. 

ffsux hy^ 
L I. His Wini. 

St Luitv\\\^ 

3. Ren ion. 
StMait. vi. 

jirtdeih. The seeking is prtlnful, but the finding 
is joyful ; tlo, therefore^ after the coun.sel of the 
wise man, if thou wilt find Him : // ifwu shait 
seek wisdom (thai is JesusJ tike srlvrr^ and as 
treasures shidt dig her ufij then shait Skou under- 
stand the fear of our f.ord, and shatf Jiiid the kmrw- 
iedge of God. It behovetli theo to delve deep in 
thy heart, 'or therein Jesus is hid, ard cast out 
perfectly all loves and likings, sorrows and fears 
of all earthly thing's, and so shalt thou find 
wisdom, that is Jesua. 

Be thou, then, like the woman in the Gospel, 
of whom our Lord saith : il'ha£ ivoman is iher^^ 
that halh lost her groat at jd doth twt tight a candle^ 
and turn her house upside dtrwft, and seek titi she 
finds it f As who should say, there is norif^ but 
would do so. And when she hath found it, she 
calleth to her friends, and sailh to them thus; 
Make mirth with me and mett>dy, for I have f<tund 
viy groat which I had t&st. Tills groat is Jesus 
which thou hast lost, and if thou wilt find Him, 
light up a lanthorn, that is God's Word, as Daifid 
saith : Thy Word is a tantfrnrn to my feet. By 
this lanthorn ahalt thou see where He is, and 
how to find Him. And if ihou wilt, thou mayest 
together with this, light up another lanthorn^ 
that is the reason of thy souK For as our Lord 
saith ■ Ihe lanthorn (or light] 0/ thy body is thy 
bodily eye. Right so may it be said, that the 
lanthorn of thy sojI is reason, by the which 
thy soul may see all spiritual things. By this 
lanthorn mayest thou find Jesus, ihat is if thou 
hold up this lanthorn from underneath the 
bushel, as our Lord saith i No tnan ttghteih a 
(candle or) tanthom to set it under a bushel, &ut 
u/>on a cafidUstick, That is to say, thy reason 
must rot be overlaid with earthly business, or 

The First Book 


vain thoughts, and earthly affections, but always 
upwards, above all vain thoughts and earthly 
things as much as thou canst. If thou do so, 
thou shall see all the dust, all the filth and small 
motes* in thy house ffor He is ligbt itself), that 
is to say, all fleshly loves ard fears in thy soul, 
1 mean not perfectly aiJ ,- for as David gaith : 
Wh& kncrmsth all his irc^P'isses f As who should 
say, no man. And thou ahalt cast out of thy heart 
all such fiinSr and awc^p thy soul clean with tho 
besom of the fear of God, and wash it with thy 
tears, and so shah Ihou ilnd thy grr<iat, Jesus; 
He is thy groat, thy penny, ihy heritage. 

This groat will not be found so easily as 'tis 
thought, for this work is not of one hour nor 
of one day, but many days and years, with much 
?«weat and labour of body t and travail of soul. 
And if thou cease not, but seek busily sigh and 
sorrow deeply, mourn stilly,J and sloop low, till 
ihine eyes water for anguish and for pain, for 
that thou hast lost thy treasure Jesus, at the last 
(when His will is) well shalt thou find thy groat 
Jesus, When thou hast found Him, as 1 have 
r^aid, lliat is when in purity of conscience fceiest 
the familiar and peaceful presence of that blessed 
man Jesus Christ, at least a shadow or glimmer- 
ing' of Him \ thou mayest, if thou wilt, call alt 
thy friends to theo to make mirth with thee and 
melody, for that thou hast found thy groat Jesus, 

See then the mercy and courtesy of Jesias* 
Thou hast lost Him, but where ? Sootbly in thy 
house, that is to say, in thy soul, that if thou 
hadst lost all thy reason of thy soul by its first 
sin, thou shouldst never have found Him again ; 
but He left thi^e thy reason, and so He is still in 
thy soul, and never is quite lost out of it, 

*UdU«. t Swuik. ^Silvatly, 

Psalnt x>iii> 

/fe tftusi ^ 
sought W'ik 
ssnit paint. 

/ii -3fhaf ptar* ■ 
/csus is hU 
and fumnJ, 
and Coifa 
Mt'ty maiti- i 
fnied ktitiii. 


The Scale of Perfection 

Isttias xIvp 

Nevertheless thou art never the nearer Him 
till thou hast found Him. He is in thee, though 
He be lost from thee ; but thou art not in Htm 
till thou hast found Him. This is His mercy 
also, that He would suffer Himself to be lost 
only there, where He may be found, so thai thou 
ne^idest not run to Rortif, nor to yttrusaUm to 
seek Him there, but turn thy thoughts into thy 
own soul where He is hid, as the Prophet saith ; 
Truly thou art ths hidJ^n God^ hid in thy soul, 
and seek Him there. Thus saith He Himself in 
SiyTnti. xiiL the Grospeli The Kingdom cf Htav^n is likened 
h a trcastirt hid in ihc field,, Ihc which ndtm a mun 
_^/fdef/i^ /or /{fv thern't, he goeih and selU-th all that 
he hnihy andcuyeth thiit field. Jesus is a treasure 
hid in the soul. Then if thou couldst find Him 
in thy soul, and thy soul in Him, I ^m sure for 
joy thereof thou wouldat part with the liking' of 
all earthly things to have Him. Jesus sleepeth 
in thy heart spiritually, as He did sometime 
bodily when He was in the ship with His di- 
sciples; but Ihey, for fear of perishing, wakened 
Htm, and soon after He saved them from a 
tempest. Do thou so, stir Him up by prayer, 
and waken Him with great crying of desire, and 
He will soon rise and help thee. 

Nevertheless I believe thou sleepest oftener 
to Him than He doth to thee; for He calleth 
thea full oft with His sweet, secret voice, and 
stirreth thy heart full stilly, that thou shouldst 
leave ail other janglini:? of other vanities in thy 
soul, and hearken only to Him- Thus saith David 
in the person of our Lord t Hertr^ daughter^ and 
A. xliv. eonsidet] tnchne thtnee^ir^ and forget thy tnvn people 
atui thy fiifher's house. That is, forget the people 
of thy worldly thoughts, and the house of thy 
fleshly andnaturalafFtJcLlons. Here thou seeslhow 

tire the iefs 
Mnit hit' 


The First Book 


Stj9k» XIV, 

out Lord calleth thee, and all others that will 
hearketi to Him. And what hindereth thee that 
ihou canst neither sec nor hear Him? Soothly 
there is so much din and noise in thy heart of 
vain thoughts and fleshly desires, that thou canst 
neither hear Him nor see Him r Therefore put 
away those unquiet roises» and destroy the love 
of sin and vanity, and bring into thy heart the 
love of virtues and full charity, and then shall 
thou hear thy Lord speak to thee. 

As long- as Jesus findelh not His image HmuHitxaHd 
reformed in thee^ He is strangle, and the far- ff^arHyar-e 
iher from thee ; therefore frame and shape thy- ^^f^J^ 
self to be arrayed in His likeness, that is in /««. 
humility and chanty, which are His liveries, and 
then will He know thee, and familiarly come to 
thee, and acquaint thee with His secrets, Thus 
saith He to His disciples : It'^vso iaveth Ah; he 
skait he icved ef My Father-^ and I •mill natm/esi 
Myiei/ unfa him. There is not any virtue nor 
sjiy g^od work that can make thee like to our 
Lord without humility and charity, for these two 
above all others are most acceptable to Him, 
which appeareth plainly in the g-ospel, where 
our Lord sp£^aketh of humility thus : Learn of ^^ j^^^^ j^- 
Mt^forl am meek and humhU m heart. He saith 
notf Learn of me to go barefoot, or to go into the 
desert, and there to fast forty days, nor yet to 
choose to yourselves disciples [as I did), but 
learn of Me meekness, for 1 am meek and lowly 
in heart. Also of charity He saith thus; Thts is i"/yyA/» xiiU 
Afy commandment, thai ^e icvc cne another as J 
laved you, for by thai men ihaH krwTo you for 
My disapiis. Not that you work miracles, or 
cast out devils, or preach, or teach, but that each 
one of you love one another in charity- If there- 
fore thou wilt be like Him, have humility and 


The Scale of Perfection 

charity. Now Ihou knowest what rharity is, 
namely, Te hvc tky ncighhcur as ihysiif. 



Of (fie Ground and Ima^e of Sin in us, which tfl 
tjfst 19 be found out and laboured agaiost, and 
how it is tu be done 

Thou hast heard already what thy soul is, and 
what dignity and beauty it had^ anJ how it last 
it, and also how it may by grace and busy travail 
be somewhat recovered ag:ain, in feeling, in part 
in this life. Now I shall tell thee (according' to 
my feeble ability) how thou mayeat enter into 
thyself to see the ground of ain, and destro}' it as 
much as thou canst, and so recover a part of thy 
eoul's dignity- 
/Tow™* To do this thou shalt cease for a time from 

should beheld ^\ bodily works, and from all outward business 
as much as thou canst, then shalt thou draw thy 
whole thought into thyself from all thy bodily 
senses, which thou must hold in and restrain 
from wandering forth, so Chat thou take no heed 
of arythiug thou seest or hearest or feelest, and 
after this draw in thy thoughcs nearer from all 
imaginations of any bodily deeds done before by 
thee, or of any cither men's deeds i and this is not 
difficult to be done at that time when thou ha^t 
devotion, but thou must do it also when thou 
hast no such devotion, and then it will be some- 
what difHcult. And set thy intent and full 
purpose, as if thou wouldst not seek nor find any- 
thing but only the grace and spiricual presence 
of Jesua. 

Tht First Book 


This will be painhU ; for vain thoughts will 
pre^s into thy Vieart very thick, to draw ihy mind 
down to them. And in doin^ thus thou shalt 
find somewhat, but not Jesus whom thou seekest, 
but only m naked remembrance of His name- 
But what then shall thou find. Surely this: a 
dark and ill-favoured imagpofthy own soul, which 
hath neither litrht of knowledge nor feelini^ of 
love of God. This image, if thou behold it hrt-d- 
fully» is all inwrapped and clothed with black 
stinking rags of sin, as pride, envy, anger, 
covetousnesfi, gluttony, sloth and luxury. Thia 
is not the ima;^e of Jesus, but the image of sin, 
which Si Paul calleth a body of iin and of dfafk. 
This imag'e and this black shadow thou bearest 
about with thee wheresoever thou goeal ; out of 
this spring many great streams of sin^ anrl small 
ones also. Just as out of the image of Jesus, if 
it b« reformed in the beams of spiritual light, 
will spring- and ascend up towards heaven burn- 
ing' desires, pure affections, wise thoughts and 
all comeliness of virtues. Even so out of this 
image spring stirrings of ptide, of envy and 
such other, which cast thee down from the come- 
liness of a man into a beast's likeness. 

Peradventure now thou bej^innest to think 
with thyself what this image is like, and that 
thou ahouldst not study much upun it, I will tell 
thee- It is like no bodily thing. What is it 
then, sayest thou ? Verily it is fwnght. or no real 
thing, as thou shalt find^ if thou try by doing as 
I have spoken ; thai is, draw in thy thoughts 
into thyself from all botiily things, and then shalt 
thou fintl right uoughf wherein thy soul may rest. 

This iwihing is nought else but darkness of 
conscience, and a lacking of the love of Gnd and 
cf light i as sin is nought but a want of good, if 



The Scale of Perfecdon 

mutf takt 
pains about 
this cart 
ima^e oj sii- 

it were so that the ground of sin was much 
abated and dried up in thee, and ihy soul was 
reformed right to the image of Jesus; then if 
thou didst draw into thyself thy heart, thou 
shouldst not find this tujughi, but thou shouldst 
find Jesus; not only the naked remembrance of 
this name, but Jesus Christ in thy soul readily 
leaching thee \ thou shouldst there find light of 
understanding and no darkness of ignorance, a 
love and liking of Hira, and no pain of bitter- 
ness, heavinesb or tediousness of Him, But be- 
cause thou art not reformed, therefore when thy 
Boul draweth into herself from all bodily things 
and delights, thou findest nothing but emptiness, 
darkness and heaviness \ so that thou thinkest it 
an hundred years till thou be out again to some 
bodily delight or vain thoughts, and it is no 
wonder; for he that cometh home to his house, 
and findeth nothing but stink and smoke, and 
a chiding wife, he will quickly run out of it. 
Even so thy soul, finding no comfort in itself, 
but black smoke of spiritual blindness, or great 
chiding of guilty or fleshly thoughts, crying 
upon thee that thou canst not be in peace^ verily 
it will quickly be weary of being alone and 
recollected, until it be out again. And this is 
the darkness of conscience. 

Nevertheless, in this dark conscience it be- 
hoves him to labour and sweat; that is (o say, 
it behoveth thee to draw thy thoughts into thy- 
self from all boiiily things as much as thou cansl, 
and then when thou findest right nought but 
sorrow and pain, and blindness in this darkness, 
if thou wilt find Jesus, thou must suffer the pain 
of this dark conscience, and abide awhile therein. 
And here also thou must beware that thou take 
Jesus Christ into thy thoughts against this dark- 

The First Book 


ness in thv mind, by bijiiy prayer and ferv»?nt 
de:^i^e lo God, noE setting the point ot thy 
thoughts on that aforesaid voughi, but on Jesus 
Christ whom thou desirest. Think stiffly on His 
Passion and cjn His hiimility, and through His 
mig'ht thou shaJt arise, Do as if thou wouldst 
beat down this dark image^ and go tluough- 
stitch with it. Thou shalt hate and loathe* this 
darkness, and this nought, jast as the devil> and 
thou shalt despise and all to break it,1" For with- 
in this rumghi is Jesus hid in His joy, whom thou 
shalt not find with all thy seeking, unless thou 
pass this darkness of conscience. 

This is the ghostly travail I spake of, and the 
cause of all this writing is to stir thee thereto, if 
thou have grace. This darkness of conscience 
and this jwughi is the image of the first Adam. 
St Paul knew it well, for he said thus of it : As \ Cxtr. */, 
tw have bcfitrt hitrnf^ the imag€ oj the earthly man, 
that i* the first Adam, '"'if^^ ^^ ^^^'^^ ^^ might m^w 
hotr the image of the hcavcttly man, which is Jesus, 
ihe second Arinm. St Paut bore this image oft 
fun heavily, for it was so cumbersome to him 
that he cried oat of it, saying thus : O who shall gtnt, vTi, 
dr'tiver me from thts body and this imas^e of death 'f 
And th-^n he comforted himself and others alao 
thus: The grace of God through yesus Cfirist, 


What the said Image of Sin 1% properly, anJ what 
coni£lh out of it 

I HAVE alreaJy told thee of this image, thai it is 
nought. Nevertheless, if thou canst not under- 
stand how thi^ should be an image, seeing 
nought can be nothing else but nought, and so 

' AgiiiiE. t hresl iu 


The Scale of Perfection 

for all my telling thou canst make nothing of it, ■ 
1 shall therefore tell Ihce more plainly of this -' 
image a^ methiiiketh. 
Sevfi PiTtrs This iinag"e is a. false inordinate love of thy- 

'/fiT/m "' **^^' *^"* ^^ ^^" ^^^''^ ^^^^ ^^^ manner of sins 
"' " "'¥^- i^y seven rivers, which are these : pride, envj-, 

aagerj sloth, covetousness, gluttony and lechery. 

Lo, this is somewhat that thou KiayestuTiderstaTid- 
^^^_^ By some one of these rivers runneth out all 

^^^H manner of mu, and putteth thee out of the 5tate 

^^^H of charity, if it be a deadly sin ; or letteth the 

^^^1 fervour of thy charity, if it be venial. Now 

^^^F mayest thou grope* at least that this linage is 

^^H not altogether 7WUgh£\ but it is much of bad, 

^^^B for it is a great spring of love unto thyself, with j 

^^^V such rivers as I have said, | 

^T But now, sayest thou> how can this be true ? 

H For I have forsaken the world, and am shut up j 

H in a monastery; I meddle with no man, I chide 

H not, I strive not, I neither buy nor sell, T have j 

■ no worldly business, but by the mercy of God I 

H keep myself chaste, and withhold me from de- 

H lights. And, besides this, I pray, I watch, I 

W labour bodily and ghostly, as well as I can; , 

how should this image then be so much in me 

as thou speakest of? 
Th*tprirtff To this r answer, granting thee that T hope 
of^iuhrsf xhOM dost all these works and more ; and yet 
wYthin. niay it be true as I say. Thou art busy to ihy 

power to stop these rivers without, but the 
L spring within perhaps thou leavest whole. Thou 

H art like to a man which had in his yard a stink- 

H irg well, with many runnings from it, who ivent 

H and stopped the runnings, and left the :^pring 

H whole, and thought all was well ; but the water 

Iw First Book 



sprang up at tlie ground of Uie well, and stood 
still, insomuch that it corrupted all ths fairness 
of his gcwden. and yet did no water run out. 
Kig'ht so may it be with the©, if it be so that 
thou hast by grace stopped the rivers of this 
image wuhout, so far thai all is done wellj but 
beware of the spring withini surely unless thou 
stop and cleanse that as much as thou cannt, it 
will corrupt all the flowers of the garden of thy 
soul. 5how they never so fair outwardly in sight 

f men. 

But now, saj-est thou^ whereby shall I know /fova mnn 

hat the ground is stopped, if I go about it * As '"^^f^""^, 
to this 1 shaU tell thee, how by try'mg and ex- Tj'r'i^b! 
perience thou ahalt know this image if it be in stopped. 
thee, and how much it is in thee, and thereby 
fthalt thou know how much it is stopped in thee, 
and how little also. And inasmuch as pride is 
the principal river, 1 shall begin with it. 



Of the Seven Deadly Sins, and first of Pride, what it 
iMf tnd when it is a deadly Sin A-nd when but v^nUl 

PRIDB ia nothing else (as the learned aay) but 
love of tby own excellency, that is, of thy own 
worship. The more thou lovest and llkest thirn; 
own honcur, the more thou hast of this pride; 
the more thou hast of this image in thee. If 
thou feel in thy heart a stirrirg of pride, that 
ihou art hoi ler^ wiser, better and more virtuou^i 
than others, that God hath given thee grace to 
»frve Him better than others do, and ihinkest 
all others beneath thee, and thyself above them, 


The Scale o£ Perfection 

7S# priviiege 
that Or.j- 
iians have in 
relation to 

and The stir- 
tingn 0/ lin. 

WhfH thw 

stirri'i^ of 

/Vi'rfr ore 


or any other thought of thyfself, which showeth 
to the eye of thy soul an excellency and a sur- 
passing of others^ and thou feelen a love and 
delight in this stirring, and a vain pleasing- in 
thyselft that indeed thou art so ; this is a token 
that thou bearest this black image, which, though 
it be privy from the eyes of men, yet it appearecli 
openly in God's sight. 

But thou sayest that thou canst not eschew 
such stirrings of pride, for oft thou feeJest them 
against thy will, ami therefore thou boldest them 
no sin ; or, if they be sin^ they be nought but 

As to this, I answer that the feeling of these 
stirringsofpnde, or of any other sin, which spring 
either out of the comiption of this foul image or 
by incasting or suggestion of the enemyi is no 
sin so far as to the feeling of them. Neverthe- 
less, when by negligence and thy own blindness 
this feeling is received unwarily in thy thoughts, 
and turned into love and liking, then is there sin 
in It more or less according to the measure of this 
love, sometime venial and sometime deadly. 

This is a grace and privilege by virtue of 
Christ's passion granted to all Christians bap- 
tized in water and the Holy Ghost. For verily 
to Jcojs and Saracens, who believe not in Jesus 
Christ, all such stirrings are deadly sins. For 
St Paul saitb -. Whafsoever ts d&ne without faith 
in Christ is sin. But we Christians have this 
privilege through His mercy, that such feelings 
are no sins, but the pain of original sin. 

But when it is venial and when it is deadly 
I cannot fully tell thee ; nevertheless, a little I 
shall say, as methinketh. When the stirrings of 
pride are received and turned into liking, so far 
that the heart chooseth them for a full rest and 

The First Book 


a full delight, and scekcth no other end, but only 
ibe liking therein, then is ihl.s pride deadly sin ; 
lor he maketh and choo&eth this delight as his 
god^ without any opposing of his reason or will, 
and therefore it is deadly sin. 

But now, sayesi thou, who is such a fool as to 
choose pride for his God? No man living', sure, 
wiU do 50. To this I answer that I cannot tell 
thee in special who stnneth deadly in pride. But 
in general I shall say that there be two sorts of 
pride, one bodily and the other spiritual. Bodily 
pride is of fleshly living- men; spiritual is of 
hypocrites and heretics. These three sin deadly 
in pride; I mean such fleshly living men as J>V 
/'^ji*/ speaks of ! If ye live afUr the fleshy ye sfmit ^"i- viii. 
die. Then aay 1 thus ; That a woridly man who 
Joveih and. seeketh principally the worship of 
himself, and chooseth the liking of it as the rest 
of his heart, and the end of his bliss, he sinneth 

But now ihou wilt say: Who doth choose the And-v^htn 
love of his worship, credit or honour, instead of ^^'"^ 
bis God r I answer, that he that loveth his wor- 
ship, as for to seem better and greater of estate 
than any other, and travaileth about it as much 
as he can ; if he love i: so much that for the 
gelling, or keeping, or the saving of it, he break- 
etb the commandment of God, or breaketh love 
and charity to his neighbour, or is ready, or in 
^11 will to break it rather than he wotild forbear 
liis w^jrship, or lose anything of it, either in his 
name, or in his estate, or of fulhlling his will; 
soothly he Hnneth deadly, for he loveth his wor- 
ship, and chooseth ii more than the love of God 
and of his neighbour. And nevertheless, the man 
that sinneth thus deadly will say with his mourh 
thai he will not choose pride for his god, but he 



The Scale ol Perfection 

And in whom. 

begfuileth himself, for he chooseth it for his god 
in iiLs deeds. 

N**vertheles5, another worldly man that loveth 
his own worship and pursueth after It, if he love 
it not so much, that he would not for the gettirg- 
or the saving of it do a deadly sin, or break 
cliarity to his neighbour, he siniielh not deadly 
but venially, more or less according lo the 
measure of hia love and of his likingj with other 
circu mstan ces. 

But a man or woman that disposetli himself 
or herself, to live contemplatively, if it be so that 
he forsake himself as to his own wilt, and offer 
up himself wholly to God with a full general will, 
that he will not sin in pride wittingly, nor have 
any joy in himself wilfully, but only in God, as 
far as he can, and may; and notwithstanding' 
after this full will offered up to Grod, feeleth many 
stirrings of vain-gloiy, and delighteth in them 
for the time (because at the first he did not so 
well perceive them), this liking is but venial sin, 
and, namely, if it be so, that when he cometb to 
himself he reprovcth himself, and withslandeth 
this stirring with displeasure of his will, and 
asketh mercy and help of Grod ; then the liking" 
which before was some sin, our Lord of his mercy 
soon forgiveih it ; and moreover he shall have 
reward* for his ^ood travail in withstanding it» 
And this is a courtesy of our Lordj granted 
Gad's spttiai to all those who are specially His serx'ants and 
setvvHfs. domesticst of His court, as are all those that for 
His love forsake, with a good true will, ail 
worldly and all fleshly sin, and give themselves 
wholly both body and soul unto His service, wiih 
all their might and cunnings ^s do truly A^uhor- 
tUs enclosed, and all truly religious persons who 


• Moit. t Homely. 

Th« First Book 


for the love of God and salvation of their own 
NOiils enler into any reli)?ioti5 order approved by 
ho]y Church. Or else, if it be so, that they enter 
first for worldly respects, or for their bodily sui- 
lerance, or some oiher such; if ihey repent them 
and turn it irito & spiritual respect, as for the ser- 
vit:e of God ; these as long as they keep this will 
and pursue it as well as their frailty will permit, 
are true religious persons. 

Also, what man or woman soever he be; in 
what degree soever he jiveth in holy Churcli, 
priest, clerk or layman, widow, maid or wile, 
that will for the love of God and salvation of 
his, or h*fr, own soul forsake all the worships and 
and likings of this world, in the world, in his or 
her heart truly and fully betwixt God and them- 
selves^ and all unnecessary business and earthly 
things, even to what they have bare need of, and 
offer up their will entirety to be His servant?^, in 
the constant exercise of devout prayers and holy 
thou^^hts, with other good deeds that they may 
do bodUy and ghostly, and keep their will whole 
to GoJ stodfastly, all such are God's special ser- 
vants in holy Church. And for this good will 
and good purpose that ihey have by the gift 
of God, they shall increase in grace and in charity 
here all their life long; and they shall have for 
this special will a special reward in the bliss of 
heaven above other chosen souls, who offered not 
wholly their will and their body to God's service, 
neither openly nor privately as they did- All 
thi^e, whom I call Gods servants, and of His 
coLjrt more specially, if they, through frailty and 
ignorance, when they feel such stirrings of vain- 
gl'>ry, for the lime delight therein, and perceive 
not that they do so, for that their reason and 
senses are letted through that hking which they 


The Scale of Perfection 

ttairs in Holy 
t'Jiurck shall 
havir divers 
rt-a/ardi in 

Thffri he imo 

•X'ltrds in 

reiga or 


feel^ SO that iTiey cannot so wHI b^ those stir- 
ring's, they sin not deadly in this liking- of vain- 
glory. For that will that ihey have in general 
set in their heart before, to ploase God, and to 
forsake all manner of sin, if they knew it, keepeth 
them here, that they sin not deadly in such stir- 
rings, and in all other that come of frailty, and 
will keep them still as long as the ground of that 
■will is kept whole, 

I say moreover for thy comfort, and for thft 
comfort of all others who live in the state of 
Anchoreh ericloseJ, and abo by God's grace, 
for the comfort of all them that enter into any 
religious order approved in holy Church, that 
all those who through the mercy of God among 
them shall be saved, shall have a special reward, 
and a singular worship in the bliss of hf?avGn ; 
for their state of living before other souls that 
had not that stale in holy Church, though they 
were never so holy ; which worship is better than 
all the worship of this world without comparison \ 
for if thou couldsl see what it is, thou wouldst not 
for the worship of this world, if thou mightest 
have it without sin, change ihy slate either of 
Anchoret or of religious, neither lose that singu- 
lar reward in heaven, which reward is called the 
Acctdeniai Reward. 

Nevertheless, that other men may not mis- 
take this that I say, therefore I shall say it more 
plainly. Thou shalt iinder-stand that there be 
tuo rewards in the bliss of heaven, which our 
Lord giveth to chosen souls. The one is Sove- 
reign and Prmctpki^ and is called the EssenHal 
Reward^ and that is the knowing and loving of 
God according lo the measure of charitj- given 
by God to the soul while she lii'ed here in mortal 
body. This reward is best and Sovcrtigti^ for it 

The First Book 


is God Himself, and is common to all the souls 
that shall be saved, in what state or degree 
soever thF?y live in holy Church, raore or less, 
according to the quantity and the muchness of 
(heir charity in this life, what degree soever they 
live in. For he that loveth God by chanty most 
shall have mo5t reward in the bliss of heaven ; 
for he shall there love God and know Him most, 
and that is the Stn'^eigy/, or Esseniinl reward, and 
according to this reward it may and shall fall out^ 
that some manner of man or woman, as a lord, 
or a lady, knipht or esquire, merchant or plough- 
roan, or what degree he be, in roan or woman, 
may and shall have more reward than some 
priest or friar, monk or canon, or Anchoret en- 
closed. And why so } Soothly, because he loved 
God more in charity. 

Another reward there is that is Seamdary, or 
Acctdenta!^ which our Lord giveth for special good 
dee<^s, which a man doth voluntarily, over that 
he is bound to dOn Of these deeds three prin- 
cipal ones the Doctors of holy Church do make 
mention of, namely, Martyrdom, Priaching and 
Virginity. * These works, inasmuch as they pass 
all others in exceHency, shall have a special re- 
ward, which is called an ^wAtf*?/'/, which isnout*:ht 
else btit a singular worship and a special token 
ordained by God for reward of that special deed 
they did above othersi over and above that SiW€- 
w£i^ or Essinfioi reward of the love of God, 
which b common to him and lo all others. Right 
50 Tl is of all other special good deeds, which, if 
they be done sincerely, are specially acceptable 
in the sight of God, and in ihe judgement of holy 
Church are very excellent, as are the enclosing 
of Anchorets^ done by the authority of holy 

GT itecidfnitd. 


The Scale of Perfection 

Duf. hji. 

Church, also entering into relig^ion approved, 
and the stricter that the religion is, the more 
excellent is the deed in the judgement of 
holy Church, 

Also after these^ and beneath these, arc the 
taking of the order of Priest, either for cure of 
men's souls, and to minister the Sacraments of 
holy Church, or else for singular Devotion to 
please God, and profit our neighbour, by the 
s^Lcrifice of the precious body of our Lord Jesus 
Christ. Soothly these are special deeds, and 
declared to be excellent by the judgement of 
holy Church, and. in the sight of our Lord. 
Wlien they are done truly for God, they arc ex- 
cellent, and shall have special reward, each man 
in his degree, in the bliss of Heaven. The state 
of Bishop and Prelate is above all these deeds, 
as to the Accid^itai reward. That this is so, 
appeareth out of holy Writ, where it saith thus 
in the Prophet Daniel'. Bui go Ihou until tke fim^ 
prefixcii. and thoii shall re^t tirid siand tn thy lot 
anlil thr\ end t>f Ihe days; w)iich is to say thus 
much ; The Angel when he had showed DanUl 
the secrets of God, he said to him thus : Go Ihtm 
111 the rest of thy budily dfaik, and thou shalt stand 
in thy lot at a prophet at the last day. And verily 
a* Daniel shall stand as a pnjphrt at the last day 
of doom, and have the worship and excellency of 
a prophet above the Sovereign ble.ssed reward! of 
Ihe love and sight of God, right so shalt thou 
stand as an Anchoret in that lot, and a Religious 
in the lot of the Religious, and so shall it be with 
other excellent deeds, and have a sir^lar wur- 
ship, passing olher men at the day of donm. 

The First Book 




How Pride Itx Herelics and io HypocMtes is Jt idly Sin 

An heretic sinneth deadly in pride, for Vie 
chooseth his rest and deiii^ht in his own opinion, 
and in his own sayings, for he imaginelh ihem 10 
be true; which opinion or sayings are against 
God and holy Church, and, therefore, he sinneth 
mortally in pride, for he loveth himself and his 
own will and wit so much, that though it be 
plainly against the ordinance of holy Church, he 
will not leave it, but resteth thereon, as upon the 
truth, and so maketh he it his god; but he be- 
guileih himself, for God and hoij' Church are so 
uitiied and accorded together that whoso doth 
ag-ainst the one doth against both. And, there- 
fore, he that sailh he loveth God» and keepeth 
His biddings, and despiseth holy Church, and 
aettech at nought the laws and ordinances there- 
of made by the head and supreme thereof ap- 
pointed 10 govern all Christians, he lieth ; for he 
chooseth not God, but chooseth ihe love of him- 
self, conirarv to the love of God, and su sinneth 
mortally. And wherein he imagineth most to 
please God, he most displeaseih Him; for he is 
blind, and will not see. 

Of this blindness and this false resting of 
ir heretic in his own feeling, speaketh the wise 
man thus: JVi^re is a atn' //ritf sccmi'th rtghf h '^w- *!*■ 
a matt^and (hi hi%! end of it hrin^tih him torndless 
death, lliis way specially is calltjd heresy: for 
other fleshly sinners that sin mortally and lie 
therein, commonly condemn themselves, and feel 
hieing in conscience, because they go not the 
right way ; bui an heretic supposeth that he doth 


The Scale of Perfection 

7%p hyffocrife 
ainneih ner- 

well, and Ceacheth welU yea, and that no man 

doth and teacheth so well as he, and so judgeth 

his way to be right, and, therefore, feeleth he no 

biting of conscience nor humility in heart. And, 

soothly, if God of His g^reat mercy sendeth him 

not humility el the last end, he goeth to hell. 

And, nevertheless, yet weeneth he to have done 

weLl and that he shall get the bliss of Heaven for 

his teaching. 

The hypocrite also sinneth deadly in pride* 

He is an hypocrite that chooseth vain jov in him- 
/fl//>m/ntfA ^^^^ ^^ ^^^ ^^^^ ^^^ ^^^ delight of his'heart in 

this manner, 

When H man doth many good deeds bodily 
and ghostly, and then is put into his mind by the 
suggestion of the enemy, the beholdinj^ of himself 
and those good deeds, how good, how holy he is, 
how worthy in men's deem, and how high in 
God's sight, above other men, he perceiveth this 
stirring, and receiveth it M^llingly, for he judgeth 
it to be good, and from God, forasmuch as it is 
true [for he doth these good deeds better thaa 
other men). And when it is received thus by 
consent of his will, there ariseth from it in hfs 
heart so great a love and delight in himself, that 
he hath so much grace^ that for tha time it 
ravisheth his mind out of all other thoughtSj 
both corporal and spiritual, and settelh it upon 
vain joy in himself, as on a rest of his heart. 
This ravishing in spiritual pride is delectable, 
and, therefore, he keepeth it^ holdeth it, and 
nourisheth it as much as he car. For this love 
and delight he prayeth> watcheth, weareth hair- 
cloth, and doth other afflictions, and all these 
trouble him but little. He pretends to love God, 
and thanketh Him sometimes with his mouth; 
sometimes wriiigeth a tear out of his eye, and 

The First Book 


then he thinketh all safe enough* But soolhly, 
all this 15 for love of himself which he chooseth, 
and mistaketh for love and joy in God, and 
therein lies all his sin. Not Ihat he willingly 
chooseth sin, as it is sin, but chooseth this 
delight and joy that he take'i for good, as the 
rest and repose of his soul. Which, because he 
doth without any striving against it, or dis- 
pleasure at it in his will, th'Tt'fore is it sin; for 
he judgeth ii to be a joy in God, and it is not so, 
and, therefore, sinneth he mortally. Job saith 
thus of an hypocrite : The joy of an hypocrite ts as t/ /<^ kiu 
3ucr£ /or a mumcu/. If his hride rise up eueri to the 
M^QVcfiSt and Itis head totun the clouds, at the last 
end he shall he ca^i out as a dung-hdip. The joy 
of an hypocrite is but a point, for if he worship 
himself never so much, and joy in himself never 
ao much, all his Ufeiime, and bepaint himself 
with all his g-ood deeds, in the sight and prais- 
inifs of the worid, at the last it will prove right 
nought but sorrow and pain. 

But thou wilt say: Sure there be few or none 
such that are so blind as to hold and choose vain 
joy in themselves for joy in God. 

As to this I cannot answer, nor will, though 
I could ; only I will tell thee this ore thing, that 
there be many hypocrites, and, nevertheless, they 
think themselves to be none, and that there be 
many that dread and fear themselves to be hypo- 
crites, and soothly are none ; who is the one, and 
%vho is the other, God knows, and none but He. 
IVhoso will humbly dread, shall not be beguiled, 
and whoso thinketh himself secure, he may 
lightly fall. For St Paul saith : Wfwso csteemetk Gfh vi. 
htmsti/io ht: sotriething^'whertas indeed he is rwlhtng, 
he begttilefh himsetf. 


The Scale of Perfection 

Htm a man 


A short Kxhortalic^a to Humllily and Chapity, with 
i CoDcIusion how a Man may know how mucb 
Pr JiJe be bath in bim 

Now by what hath been said^ thou mayest (if 
thou wilt understand them] conceive comfort for 
thy liegree of living'j and also matter of hamiliiy, 
Por though it be true^ that (in case thou come to 
Heaven) thou shall there receive so much reward 
in special, for thy state of life; nevertheless it 
may be that there is many a wife, and many 
a woman, living at large in the world, that shaU 
lie nearer God than thou, and shall love God 
more, and know Him better than thou» for all thy 
religious stale, and that ought to be a shame to 
thee. Yet if thou labour to get love and charity 
as fully and as perfectly as those that live in the 
world (for thou mayest have it by the j^ft of God, 
as much as they thai live in woddly business), 
then Shalt thou have as much of the Si^ver^igH or 
£ssfrfi/iti£ reward as they i and, moreoven shalt 
also hai/e atiother singular and accidental reward 
and worship, for thy state of Religion which the 
others shall not have. If then thou wilt do well, 
be humble, and forget thy state, as if it were 
right nought ; for in sooLh it Js so, thai is, right 
noupht in itself. And let thy desire and business 
be to destroy sin, and to get charity, and hu- 
mility, and other ghostly virtues, for therein 
lieth all, 

I have well-nigh forgotten that image T spake 
of, but now I turn agaiti thereto. If thou wilt 
know how much pride is therein, tli(>u mayest 
try it thus; Look to it wisely, and flatter not 

The First Book 


thyself; if loving, prai^ing^ or worshipping-, or 
human favours of worldly men or oihers, be 
pleasing 10 tliy hearty and ihou turnest them into 
vain gladness, and well paying of thyself, think- 
ing setretly in thy heart, that men ought to 
praise thy life, and reward thy speeches more 
than other men^s ; and abo on the contrary, if 
it be so, that when men reprove thee, and set 
thee at nought, hold thee tbr a fool, or an hypo- 
crite, or slander thee, or speak evil of thee falsely, 
and in any other wa^ disease* thee unreasonably, 
and for this thou feelest in thy heart a grievous 
heaviness against them, and a great rising in thy 
heart, with an unwillingness to suffer any shame 
or disgrace in the sight of the world; if, T say^ it 
be thus with thee, it is a token that there is 
much pride in this dark Image, seem thou nt^vt^r 
fiO holy in the sight of men. For though these 
fitirringa be but little and venial, nevertheless 
they show well that there is much pride hid in 
the ground of thy heart, as the fox dareth in his 
den. These stirrings, with many more, spring so 
fast out of this image that thou scarcely canst do 
«iny good deed but it will be mingled with some 
pride or vain delight in thyself, and so with thy 
pride thou defileth all thy good deeds, and 
makest them loathesome in the sight of thy Lord. 
1 say not that they are lost because they are 
mingled with this pride. But I say thai thuse 
good deeds are not so pleasant to thy Lord as 
ihey would be if they were simple and truly 
rooted in the virtue of humility. And, therefore, 
if thou wilt have cleanness of heart, to come to the 
love of God, it behoveth thee not only to fiy the 
rest and repoive of thy heart in vain-glory, by 
willingly consenting to pride, and abo the wretch- 


The Scale of Perfcclion 

less liking therein out of frailty against thy will, 
but also the very feeling itself of pride, as well as 
thou canst, which wiil not be done \inles5 thou bo 
full quick and diligent about the keeping of ihy 
heart, as I shall tell thee hereflfter. 

JVib- brunches 
of tnvy and 



Of Envy and Wratli and their Brancltes, and fiow, in' 
suad of Sin, ih? Person i% often haled 

Turn this image upside down, and look well 
thereir, and thou shak find two members or 
limbs of envy and anger fastened thereto, with 
several branches springing out of them, which 
hinder the love and charity which thou oughlc5t 
to have toward thy neighbour. The branches of 
these two sins are these : Hatred, evil suspicion, 
false and rash or unskilful judging, melancholy, 
risings of heart against them, despising, unkind- 
tiess, and back-biting* or other ill-speaking of 
them, misliking, unskilful or causeless blaming 
of them, misconstruing their words or deeds, 
anguish and heaviness againf^t those that despise 
uSj or speak any evil of us, or speak against us, 
a joy or gladness at their pain, a selfnesa or 
bitterness against sinful men and others that will 
not do as we think they should do, with great 
desire and eagerne.'is of heart (under colour of 
charity and justice], that tht-y were well pun- 
ished and chastised for their sin- 
Such motions and stirrings as these seem 
good; nevertheless, if thou ransack it well, thou 
shalt find it more fleshly and sensual sometimes 
against the person than spintual against the sin; 

The First Book 93 

Jor tbou ahouldst love the man, be he never so 
sinful, and half ili^ sin in every whatever 
he be. Many are beguiled in this, for they set 
the bitter instead of the sweet and take darkness 
instead of light, contrary to the prophet, saying t 
py^ iQyouwh<fCij/l cvii gt)odt anii g^t'Vfi tvii; puUiftg TsainsM* 
darkness /or light, and tight for darkness ; fuUtfig 
hitter for su>€£i^ and sweet for oil fcr. 'ihusdoall they 
who, when ihey should hale the sin of their neigh- 
bour and love his persori, hate tlio person instead 
of the sin, and imagine that they hate the sin. 
Wherefore it is a special craft and art by itself 
whoso can do it well. 


That tt ifl a Mastery md noble Skill lo 1ot« Men's 
PeraonSi and yet wisely to bate their Sins, and how 

It is no mastery to watch and fast till thy head 
ache; nor to run to Rome or Jerusalem on pil- 
gTimage upon thy bare feet; nor for to stir about 
and preach, as if thou wouldst turn all men by 
thy preaching. Nor is it any mastery to build 
churches or chapels, or to feed poor men and 
build hospitals. But it is a mastery for a man 
to love his neighbour in charity, and wisely hate 
his sin, and love the man. For though it be true 
that all those deeds before said be good in them- 
selves, yet are they common 10 good men and to 
bad, for every man may do them if that he woukL 
and have wherewith- And for thee to do that 
which ever>' man may do^ 1 hold it no mastery; 
but to love thy neighbour in charity and hate his 
ffin can no man do, .^ave only good men, who 
have it by the gift of God and not by their own 
travail, as St Paul saith : Lime and chaniy w sktu jf^,„, ,. 


The Scale of Perfection 

w a 'fia'i 

may Itorn 
(his hard 

abroad in your hairfs by the Holy Ghost, w/ijch t's 
£tvff?t to yoH. And, therefore, it ia more precious 
and more dainly to come by, AJl other good 
deeds without this make not a man good nor 
worthy of the bliss of heaven, but this alone, and 
only this, maketh a man good and all his good 
deeds to be medefuh AU other gifts of God and 
works of man are common to good and bad, to 
the chosen and the reprobate; but this gift of 
charity is proper only to good and chosen souls. 

And, therefore, for the learning of this hard 
lesson, thou must understand and consider that 
a good man for the love of God fasteth, waccheth, 
goeth on pilgrimage and forsaketh all the plea- 
sures of the world sincerely in his heart, without 
feigning-, and he halh his reward in heaven ; and 
an hypocrite doth Ihe same deeds out of vain-glory 
and for love of himself, and receiveth his reward 
here. Also, a true preacher of God's Word, 
filled with charity and humility, sent of God and 
recetv^ed and approved by the Church, if he preach 
arid leach God's Word, shall have a special re- 
ward of God ; that is the cunola for his preach- 
ing. And an hypocrite or an heretic that hath no 
humility or charity^ nor is sent of God nor yet of 
holy Church, if they preach, they have their re- 
ward here. Also a good man living in the world 
for the love of God buildeth many churches, 
chapels, abbej's, hospitals and doth other many 
good deeds of mercy, and he shall have his re- 
ward in the bliss of heaven, not for the deed in 
itself^ but for the good will and the charity thi*t 
he hath in him by the gift of God for to do these 
j^Qod deeds- Another maci out of vanity of him- 
self and worship and pleasing of the world and 
for his own name doth the same good deeds, and 
hath his reward here. The cause in all these is 

First Book 


that the one hath charity and the other none; 
but which is the one and which Is the other, our 
Lord krowech, antl none but He. 

From this, therefore, we are to leam these two 
le&soas. First, that we should love and worship 
all men m our hearts, and approve and think well 
of and receive all thtir deed^s that have thf^ like- 
ness of goodness, though the doers be bad in the 
sight of God, except they be the deeds of known 
and open heretics, or of open cursed (or excom- 
municated) men ; for of these two we are specially 
lo Hy and eschew their company and coming 
amongst them. And we are also to reprove and 
refuse their deeds, seem they never so good, 
as long as they are rebels to God and holy 
Church. And if a worldly, cursed [or excom- 
municated] man build a church, or feed poor 
men, thou mayest safely hold and judg'e such 
his doings to be nought, and deem them as they 
ire. Also if an open heretic, who is a rebel to 
holy Church, preach and teach, though he con- 
TCTt a hundred chousand soulSj thou mayest hold 
the deed, as lo himself, right nought ; for these 
men are openly out of charity, without which all 
is nought that a man doth. 

Secondly* that it is a great mastery for a man 
Ip know how and to be able to love his neighbour 
in charity; all which may be plainly proved by 
Si Piiul'n words, ihus^ If 1 spiak tctih the ianpies 
of wt^n and angcis^ if J havs not chanty^ I a?n ri^hi 
K-mghi ; arrd if I hove so gr tat faith tttat I can in/er' 
turn ^i//s and btar (fjem away^ and have not charity^ 
I Am rt'ghi twiight. And aiso^ though I hoti ail 
mojtner of knmiiti-dgr. of ail mysteries, mid if I give 
all thai I have to the potn-^ and my body to be burnt, 
aad JIuTiTt >io( charity^ tt profil^tk t/« tight nought. 

Heapfi it seemeth by St Paul's words that a 

W'e ate fit 

think -men 
0/ all iiifu. 

tfidy hi'C his 
neighbour hni 
he Ihat htrth 
chart fy. 

I O/', xiiL 


The Scale of Perfection 

ihit\g to k'ti>V) 
iBhiihtr wf 
have iharitji. 

JVont Jitith 
cJ^it'itj/ but 
ht fhat is 

Eom. Vkii. 

man may do all good deeds bodily without 
charily, and that charity is nought else but tn 
love God and his neighbour as himself. Hnw 
should, then, any wretched caitiff upon earth, 
whatever he be, have any delight or trust or 
security in himself for anything he doth or is 
able to do with all his bodily powers or natural 
wit, sith all this is nought worth without love 
and charily to his neighbour } And this charity 
cannot be gotten by his own working, for it is 
the free gift of God, sent only into an humble 
soul, as Si Paul saith. Who then dare be so 
bold as to say : / have Chrisf, or / am charity * 
Verily no man can say it securely,* or of a 
certainty, but he chat is perfectly and truly 
humble \ other men may trow of themselves, and 
hope that they be in charity by tokens \ but he 
that ia perfectly humble feeleth it, and therefore 
may say it securely. Thus humble was St Paul^ 
and therefore said he thus of himself : Who shall 
separate us from the im?e of Christy Shall tribula- 
iiirn, or anguish, ordisircss, etc. ? And he answereth 
himself, and saith : I am persuaded thai no crea- 
ti4r£ shall be ahic tu separate mc from tlte charily of 
God tn Christ Jtsits, Many men do deeds of 
charity, and have no charity, as I have said. To 
reprove a sinner for his sin to his atnendment, in 
a convenient time, is a deed of charity ; but to 
hat© the sinner instead of the sin, is against 
charity. He that is verily humble can part the 
one from the other, and none but he. For though 
a man had all moral virtues of all the philoso- 
phers, he could not do this ; he could be able to 
hate sin in other men (for he hateth it in himself), 
but he could not be able to love the man in 
charity, with all his philosophy. Also, if a man 

* £ickcrLy, 

The First Book 


had the knowledge of all books and divmitv, and 
be not withal truly humble, he shall lightly stum- 
ble and err in this point, and take the one for the Chmity %& 
other. But humility is worthy to receive a gift g°it^o"^y 
from God, which cannot be gotten or learned by ■^*''"' '-'"■ 
cunning of man, and therefore he that is humble 
can hate the sin and truly love the man, 

Bui now peradventure ihou bcginnest to be 
afraid for ihac which I have said, that charity 
cannot be 6t>tten by any work that thou canst 
do; how shall thou then do? 

To this I answer, that there is nothing so hard 
to get AS chanty; this is truth, as to the getting 
of it by our own travail and labour. And, on the 
contrary, I say that there is no gift of God that 
may so lightly or easily be had as charity, for 
our Lord giveth no gift so freely, nor so gladly, 
nor so commonly, as He doth it- How shalt 
thou, then» have it, sayest thou? Be meek and 
lowly in spirit and thou shalt have it; and what 
is lighter to be done than to be humble? Sooth- 
ingly nothing- Then it followeth that there is 
nothing so lightly to be had as charity, and, 
therefore, ihou need not be much afraid j be 
humble, and have il» Thus saith St James : Ottr 
Lord rcsntetk (ht proud, hit gi'veih grace to ilte 
humbk. Which grace is properly charity ; for 
according to the measure of thy humility, so 
shalt thou have charity. If thou have humility 
imperfectly only in will> not in affection, then 
hasi thou imperfect charity, which indeed is good, 
for it sufficelh for salvation, as ZJtff'fi/sailhr Lord, p^alm 
^t(h Ike eyes nf mercy tfwti seesl my imperUctmt. cxxxviil. ifi. 
But if thou have humility perfectly, then shalt 
thou have perfrci charity> and this is best. The 
other we must necessarily have if we will he miofjimty 
saved. This we should ever desire and labour kumh/t. 


The Scale of Perfection 

for. If thou ask me now who is perfectly humble, 
I shall tell thee no more concerning humility at 
this time but this : He is humbU ihut truly kno^eth 
kifttsel/as hd is. 


How a Man sh^ll know how much IPraih ind Envy 
is hid in the ground of his Heart, and how he 
may know whether he loves his Enemies, and the 
Ejcamfles we h^ve thereof in our SavJom? 

Now turn we ag-ain to this image. If thou wilt, 
try how much anger and env^ is hid iu thy heart, 
which thou feelest and perceivest not. Look well 
and behold thyself wisely when such stirrings of 
anger and envy against thy neighbour spring out 
of thy heart. The more that thou art stirred by 
melancholy or wicked will against him, the more 
is this image in thee. For the more thou grudg- 
est by impatience, either against God for any 
tribulation or sickness, or other bodily disease 
sent by Him, or against thy neighbour, for aught 
that he doth against ihee, the less is the image 
of Jesus reformed in thesn I say not that such 
gnidgings or fleshly angriness are deadly sins ^ 
but 1 say that they hinder the cleanness of heart 
and peace of conscience, that thou canst not have 
perfpct charity, by the which thou shouldst come 
to life Ct/ftUmplative. For that end is the purpose 
of all my sayinj^, that thou shouldst not only 
cleanse thy heart from deadly sins, but also from 
venial as much aa thou canst : and that the 
ground of sin might by grace of Jesus Christ be 
somewhat shaked in thee. 

For though it be so that thou feelest no evil 
against thy neighbour for a time, yet art thou not 

The First Book 


secure that the ground of anger is quenched in 
thee; neither yet art thou lord and master of 
the virtue of charily. For let him bui touch ihee 
a little angrily, or by a shrewd word, and thou 
shall ace presently whether thy heart be yet made 
whole by perfect charity. The more thou art 
stirred and evii-willed against his person, the 
further art thou from ch^irity. AnJ if ihou be 
nothing stirred against his person, neitoet by 
any angry carriage or gesture outwardly, nor by 
any priiy hate in thy heart, either to despise or 
judge him, or undervalue, or set him at nought; 
but ihe more shame or villainj' he doth lo thee by 
word or deed, the more pity and compassion thou 
ho^t of him> ^s thou would^t have of a man that 
were out of his wits, and thinkest that Ihou canst 
not find in thy heart to hate him (because love is 
so good in itself) but pray for him and help him 
and desire his amendment, not only with thy 
mouth, as hypocrites can do, but with iiffection of 
lo\'e in thy hearty then hast thou perfect charity 
to thy neigh boun 

This charity had Sf Stephc}} perfectly when he ^" ^'^■' "^' 
prayed for them that stoned him to death. This '"^'"'^*'' 
charily coutiselled Christ to those that would be 
His perfect followers when He said thus : Love s^ Matt. v. 
your erumiest do guod to th€m that hak you, pray for 
th^m thai persecute you. And, therefore, if thou 
wilt be one of Christ's followers, be like Him 
in ibis craft. Learn to love thine enemies and 
sinful men, for all these are thy neifirhhours. 
Look and bethink thee how Clirist loved Judas, 
who was both His deadly enemy and a sinful 
caitiff; how goodly Christ was to him, how 
benign, how courteous, and how lowly to him 
whom He knew to be damnable. And never- 
theless He chose him to he His apostle^ and sent 

A^ft /he tx~ 
itm/-ie 11/ our 


The Scale of Perfection 

IiSm to preach with His other apostles. He gave 
him power to work miracles; He showed the 
same good cheer to him in worti and deed as He 
did lo other apostles. He washed his feet^ and 
fed him with His precious Blood, and preached 
to him as He did to His other apostle^a. He 
bewrayed him not openly (for He did it privily] ; 
He miscalled him not, despised him not, never 
spake evil of him; notwithstanding if He had 
done all these things. He had said nothing but 
truth. Moreover, wlien yttdas took Him, He 
kissed him, and called him Hia friend* All this 
charily showed Christ unto |?tt£faj, whom He knew 
to be damnable ; and this He did in no way of 
counterfeiting or Mattering, but in reality and 
truth of good love and clean charity. For though 
it was true that Judas was rot worthy to have 
any gift from God, or any sign of love for his 
wickedness i nevertheless, it was worthy and 
seemly that our Ijjrd should show Himself to 
be that which He is, and that is love and good- 
ness to all His creatures, as He was to Jitdas. 
I say not that He loved him for his sin, nor 
that He loved him as one of His chosen, as He 
did Si P^/er ; but He loved him inasmuch as 
he was His creature, and showed him tokens of 
love, if he would have been mended thereby. 
Follovv thou His example somewhat as much as 
thou canst ; for though thou art shut up in a 
house as to thy body, nevertheless in thy heart 
[where the seal of love ia) thou mayest have part 
in such love co thy neighbour, as I have spoken of. 
Whoso thinkest himself to be in his life a 
perfect lover and follower of Christ's teaching 
(as some men perhaps esteem themselves to be, 
because they preach and teach, and are poor in 
worldly goods, as Christ was) and cannot follow 

Th« First Book 


Christ in this love and charity, lo love iheir 

neighboxirs, even every man, both good and bad., 

Inend and foe, without feigning or flattery, or 

despising him in his heart, without angnness 

or maJicious reproving, soolhly he beguileth 

himself. The nearer he ihinkeih himielf to be 

to Christ's example, the further is he off; for 

Christ said to them that would be His disciples, 

thus r Jhis is My ^tddirig^ (hat you should iove tme si M* xiii, 

artofher as I have loved you. For if ye love as 

1 have loved, then are ys My disciples. 

But now thou wilt say \ How shall ! lave htm ■^™* " '""" 
ihU is had as -mell ttnd as truly as kirn thai is good f ff^^^J''^'^' 

To this 1 say thus r That thou shalt love both *,?;;ni 'tha 
good and bad in charity, but not for the same g^/od, 
cause as I shall tell how. Thi^ shalt hve thy 
fuighbour as thyself. Now, Chou shalt love thy- 
self only in God, or vXsc for God. hi God thou 
lovest thyself, when thou art righteous and 
virtuous through grace, and lovest rtoi thyself 
but only for that righteousness and virtues that 
God giveth thee, then lovest thou thyself in Gtjd^ 
for chou lovest not thyself, but God. Also, thou 
lovest thyself /ur God, when being in deadly sin 
thou desiresi to be made righteous and virtuous^ 
for then thou lovest not thyself as thou art (for 
thou art unrighteous), but as thou wouldst be. 
Right so shalt ihou love thy neighbour. If he 
be good and righteous, thou shale love him by 
charity in God only ; in that he is good and 
righteous ; for then lovest thou God (who is 
goodness and righteousness) in him, and so 
thou lovest him more than if he were bad or 
in deadly sin. As. for example, ihy enemies 
who hate thee^ or any other of whom thou hast 
full evidence they are not in grace i yet notwith- 
standing shalt thou love them, not as they are. 


The Scale of Per'eztion 

nor as g-ood and righteous men (for they are bad 
and unrig-hteoua], but thou shalt love them for 
God, that Ihey may be gocU a.nd righteous. And 
so shalt thou hale nothing in them, but tiiat 
thing- which is contrary to rig-hteousness, and 
that is sin. This is as I understand the doc- 
trine of Si Au£jjs/y»t; fcr to di^ting-uish the love 
of the man from the haired of his sir, and the 
love of thy neighbour. He that is humble, or 
desires truly to be humble, can thus love his 
neighbour, and none but he. 


Of Co^efousncss, and how a l^aa may know how 
mucli of it is hid in his Heart 

Heave up th[s image^ and look well about it, 
and into it^ and then shalt thou see covetousness 
and love of earthly things possess a great part 
of this image, though it seem little of it. Thou 
hast forsaken riches and the havings much of this 
world, and art shut up in a cell, but hast thou 
cleanly forsaken the love of all this ? 1 fear not 
yet, for it is less mastery to forsake worldly 
gxiods than to forsake the love of them. Per- 
adventure thou hast not forsaken thy covetous- 
nesSr but only hast changed it from great things 
unto small ; from a pound unto a penny, and 
from a silver dish unto a dish of a halfpenny. 
This 13 but a simple change ; thou art no fjood 
merchant. These examp]es are childish ; never- 
theless they signify much more. If thou believe 
not what I say, put thyself upon the trial. If 
thou have love and delight in the having and 
holding of anything that thou hast, how mean 
tioever it may be^ with the which love thou 

The First Book 


feedest thy heart for a time, or if thou have 
a desire and yearning for to have something 
thit thou hast noU with the which desire thy 
heart is disquieted and stumbled through un- 
reasonable thinkingf of ihe thing-, that the pure 
de^tre of virtue and of God cannot rest therein ; 
this is a sign that there is covetousness in this 
image. And if thou wilt pul thyself further to 
the trial, look if anything that thou haat be 
taken away from thee by violence, or by borrow- 
ing, or any other way, so thai thou canst not 
gtt it again, and for this thou art disquieted, 
angered, and troubled in thine heart, both for 
the loss of that thing; which thou woutdst have 
again, and canst not; and also art stirred 
against bim that hath it, to strive and chide 
with him that may restore it, and will not, this 
is a token that thou lovest worldly goods. For 
thus do worldly men when their goods and riches 
are taken from them ; they are heavy, sorry and 
angry, chiding- and striving with them that have 
them, openly, both by word and deed. But thou 
dost all this in thy heart privily, where God 
secth, and therein thou art in more default than 
a woridly man; for thou hast forsaken in appear- 
ance the love of worldly things, but a worldly 
man hath not so, and therefore he is excused, 
though he strive and pursue for his goods by 
lawful means, for to have them again, 

But now sayest thou, that it behoveth thee 
to have thy necessaries of such things as belong 
iinto thee, as well as a worldly man. I grant 
well thereto; but thou shouldst not love it for 
Itself, nor have liking in the holding nor in the 
keeping, nor feel sorrow and heaviness in the 
losing, or in the withdrawing of it. For as >SV 
Gti^y saith : Ai m\tch ^orrum as tkoti htjsi in 


The Scale of Pericction 

lo.'iing of a things so much hmt hasi thau m th€ 

keeping of iL And therefore if so be thy heart 
mdde whole, and thou hadst truly felt a desire 
of spiritual things, and therewith hadst a true 
sight of the least spiritual thing that is, thou 
wouldst set at nought all the love and liking 
of any earthly thing:, it would not cleave to thee. 

For lo love a.nd have more than thou reason- 
ably needest, only for lust and liking, is a great 
fault. Alao» to fix thy love upon the thing 
which thou needest, for the thing itself, is a fault 
also, but not so great. But to have and use that 
thing that thou needest without love of it, more 
than nature and ne^d requireth, without which 
the thing cannot be used, is no fault. 

Soothly in this point I fear that many who 
have taken upon them the state and likeness of 
poverty are much letied and hindered in their 
pursuit of the love of God ; I accuse no man, nor 
reprove any state, for in each state there be some 
good, and iOme otherwise ; but one thing I say 
lo every man or woman that hath taken the ^tate 
of volLiniary poverty, whether he be religious or 
secular^ or what degree he be in, as long as his 
love and his affeciion is bounden and fastened, 
and as it were glued with the love of any earthly 
thing, which He hath, or would havL, he cannot 
have nor feel soothfastly the clean love, and the 
clear sight of spiritual things. For Si Ausf/'n 
j^aid to our Lord thus: LtfrSj he lir.'tih Thcr hut 
littk^t thui Uivcth anything Tttilh T/i£i\ which he 
ioveth no£ for Thc€. For the more love and 
covetoiLsness of any earthly thing is with thee, 
the less is the love of God in thy heart. For 
though it be so, that this love of earthly things 
putteth them not out of charity; but if it be so 
much that it strangle th the loveof Goil and of their 

The First Book 


neighbour, verily» it hindereth and lelteth them 
from the fervour of charity, and also from that 
special reward which they should have in the 
bliss of heaven for perfect poverty, and that is 
3 great loss if thou couldst see it. For who so 
could underitand the spiritual reward, how good, 
how precious and how worthy it is (for it is ever- 
lasting), he would not for the love of all earthly 
Joy, or having all earthly things fihough he 
might have them without sin) hinder, no, nor 
lessen the least reward of the bliss of heaven, 
which he might have if that he would ; but God 
knows I speak more than I do myself But I 
pray thee do thus as I say, by the grace of God, 
if ihou canst, or any other man that will, for it 
would he a comfort to my heart (chough I have it 
not in myself that which I say) that 1 might have 
it in thee, or in any other creature, which hath 
received more plenty of His grace than I. 

But see, now then, since covetousness, in the 
naked ground of it, letteth a man oi woman so 
much from the spiritual feeling of the love of 
God, how much more, then, doth it let and 
cumber worldly men and women, who by all 
their wits and bodily business night and day, 
study and travail how they may get riches and 
plenty of worldly goods } They can have no 
other delight but in worldly things ; nay^ they 
will not, for they seek it not, I say no more 
of them at this time ; for in this writing 1 spake 
not to them. But this I say, that if they would 
see, or could see what they do, they would not 
do so. 


The Scale of Perfection 



Of GlutLony, and bow a Man shall know wh^n he 
sinn^th not in Eaiing and Dfinking, and when he 
sinneih venUUy, and when deadly 

Sttll mayest thou see more in this image^ 
though it be dark, namely, sensual love to thyself, 
in gluttony, sloth and lecheiy- These fleshly 
likings make a man full bea'^tly, and far from 
the inward savour of the iove of God and from 
the clear sight of spiritual ihings. But Ihou wilt 
say that thou must needs eat and drink and 
sleep, which thou caast not do without liking-* 
therefore thou thinkest this liking is no sin. 

A3 unto this I say : That if in eating, drink- 
ing and other takings of necessaries for thy 
body, thou obsen'o and keep measure ; which 
is that thou do but what is needful for nature, 
and thou receivest or admit test no further 
pleasure or delight in the takingf, than the 
nature of the thing doth reeds bring wkh it ^ 
and all this thou dost not ctf purpose to please 
thy sensuality, but for ghostly delight which 
thou feelest in thy soulj and the upholding of 
thy body in the service of God, I grant that 
for a truth thou then sinnest right nought 
therein, but mayest well eat and sleep in that 
manner as thnu hast menTioned. 

t^oothly and witiiout doubt I am full far 
from knowing how to do better in this point, 
and further from doing of it; for to eat I have 
by kind or nature, but to skill how to eat, 1 can- 
not but by the grace of God. Sf Paul had this 
cunning by the grace of God, as he saith himself 

The First Book 


thus : / am cunning irt a// tkm^s, through Htm 
thai sircngihenfih me ; p}T I can hnirgir, and I can 
^^/, I £on '.vith pUtify, and I can wtth fct'crty, I can 
do ail things. S( Auitin saith thus lo our Lord : 
Lotd^ thou hast taught w/ that T shonid taki meat 
as ii medicine: hunger is a sickness 0/ my nuture, 
mid meat is a Trtedicine Iherfa/. Therefore the 
liking' and delig-ht that comcth therettith, and 
accompanieth eating'^ inasmuch as it is naiurdl, 
and followeth of necessity, it is no sin j but when 
it passeih into lust, and into a voluntary and 
sought or iniended pleasure, then it is sin. 

Therefore here Heth all the mastery and skill 
to be able to di'^linguish wisely need from lust 
and voluntary liking', being so knit together that 
the one Cometh with the other. So that it is 
hard to take the one [which is the meat or drink) 
as need requireth, and to reject or not to admit 
the other, namely, the voluntary and willingly ad- 
mitti^d lust and likings which often Cometh under 
llie colour of need. 

Nevertheless, sith it is so, that need is the 
ground of this, and that need 15 no sin -, for be a 
man never so holy, H behoveth him to eat, and 
drink and sleep; therefore the lust and liking 
that Cometh under the colour of this need, and 
often exceedeth this need, is the less sirtn For it 
is true that he who choo*etli lust and the liking 
of his flesh, and delight in welfare of meat or 
drink, as the full rest of his heart that he would 
never have any other life nor other bliss, but live 
ever in such lust of his tleshi if he might, it is no 
doubt but he sinnetli deadly; for he loveth his 
flesh more than God. But he that lieth in deadly 
sin of pride or en^y, or such other, he is .so 
blinded by the devil, that for the time he hath no 

ittg it : and f'rrha''t foty at it r/ij'n^ /Auf mtikfs !^r nictt more 

A fii\ni fh'tiff 

the fi/easure 
j'h fit/in^ 
from ttffnt' 

A man may 
iaiv/uiiy ad' 
nut the pU'w 
sws feU j'n 
ih* taking of 

t'lful. so he 
takr it nttf 
/or (he pK'a^ 
jnrr's ja*f, 
for mctAg tH^ 
pli'ossrt til ht 
the end or 
canst 0/ the 
faking of it ; 
but necessity 
tft hf Ihg 
ftiusF^ and 
the pleas un 
c-i a thing- 
gratf/ut ta 


The Scale of Perfection 

A grneml 
wiii and fur- 
pose ft) hue 
OHtis^r^fe Cod 
k,v/-s us/nttn 
rhn ^iir of 
nvorttU sin i« 

power of his free will, and therefore he cannot 
well withstand fleshly likings when they come, 
but falleth down willingly to them, aa a beast 
doth to carrion ; and ina^smuch aa he hath no 
general will before to God principally, because 
that he 13 in deadly sin, therefore the lust of 
gluttony into which he falleih easily, is to him 
deadly sin, for he maketh no resistance either 
general or special. But another man or woman, 
who being' in grace orcharity,hath alway a g"ood 
general will to God in his soul, whether he sleep 
or wake, eat or drink, or whatsoever good deed 
he doth» so that it be not evil in itself; by the 
which will end desire he chooseth God above all 
things, and had rather forbear all things in the 
world, than anger his God for lov^e of Ilim, This 
will, though it be but general, is of so great 
virtue through the grace of our Lord Jesus, that 
if he fall by frailty in lust and in liking of meat 
and of drink, or of such other infirmity, either by 
exercise, in eating too much, or too often, or too 
greedily, or too lusty and delicately, or loo often 
before the set times of eating, it saveth and 
keepelh him from deadly sin. And ihis is truth, 
as long as he ia in charity in his other works, 
and keepeth his general will in all that he doth ; 
and especially if anon &fter such his miscarriage 
he acknowledge his own wretchedness and cf}"- 
for mercy, and be in purpose specially to with- 
stand such fleshly lusts for the time to come- 
For our Lord is good and merciful^ and forgivelh 
right soon these venial sins and miscarriages, or 
excesses about meat and drink (by reason that 
the occasions of them are hardest to eschew, be- 
cause of the necessity there is of seeking and 
taking of them for the upholding of our corporal 
lives and healths) unto an humble soul. 

cannot ix 
tffkrn Qway^ 

And these rtirrlnga and likings of gluttonv, Thfgrowfd 
among all other sins, are most excusable and ^fg^^"™y 
least perilous. And therefore thou shalt not rise 
against the ground of this sin as thou shait 
ag-ftinat the ground of all other sin, for the ground 
of this fiin is only natural need and necessity, 
the which thou canst not eschew, unless thou 
shouldstdoworse, namely, slay this need (as many 
unwise persons do, by destroying their bodies 
or healths), whereas they should only slay the 
!hif/ and spar© the true mfln. That is to sayj 
slay unreasonable lust and sensual voluntary 
liking, and spare and keep natural liking and 
corporal ability, and they do not so» But against 
0.11 other sins thou shalt arise to destroy^ not 
only deadly sins and the greater venials, but also 
against the ground of them by suppressing the 
stirrings and motions of them, and also avoiding 
the occasions and motives and incentives to them 
as much as thou canst ; but this thou canst not 
do here with all thy skill, for thou canst not live 
without meat and drink, but thou mayest live 
without lechery or carnal pleasure if thou wilt, 
and never better than when without it. And 
therefore thou shall not fly only the deeds of it 
(namely, the doing of any external thing against 
chastity) but also thou shalt suppress and destroy 
within thee all mere inward and mental desires 
against the virtue of chastity [the which mental 
desires or thoughts are sometimes only venial 
sins, and sometimes mortal] ; but also thou shalt 
labour against tlie ground of the said sin, and 
aeek to destroy the feeling and the rising of 
fleshly stirrings. 

But this travail and labour against the ground ^^ dtstrovtJ 
of lechery mtj^t be spiritual, by prayers and ^^i^^^J^Tw^ 
spiritual virtues, and not hy bodily penance atatrp^t^aL 

Tkf ground 
of sins n'HSf 


The Scale of Perfection 

only; for wot thou well, that if thou fast and 
watch and scourg^e thyself, and da all that tliou 
canst, thou shalt never have cleafiue&s and 
chastity without the gift of God, and without 
the grace or virtue of humility. Thou shalt 
sooner kill thyself, than kill fleshly stirrings and 
feelings of lust and lechery, either In thy heart 
or in thy flesh, by any bodily penances ; but by 
the grace of Jesus, in an humble soul, the ground 
may be much stopped and destroyed, and the 
spring may be much dried, the which will cause 
true chastity in body and in soul. 

The same may be said of pride and of cove* 
tousness, and of such other* for thou mayest live 
though thou wert not proud at alh nor covetous, 
nor liixuriousj and therefore thou shalt labour 
to destroy the very feelings of them as much as 
thou canst, and 30 seek to cleanse and take away 
the very ground of those sins. But in gluttony 
it is otherwise, because the ground thereof, which 
is natural appetite and need, must remain as Ions' 
as thou livest, therefore must thou only arise and 
fight against the unreasonable desires of thy natu- 
ral appetite therein, the which do creep in under 
pretence, and by occasion of the said just and 
reasonable need; smite these unreasonable stir- 
rings, and keep the ground whole, 


Thai A Man should be busy to put away and hinder 
all Motions of Sm, but moro busy about those of 
Spiritual Sins than those oi Bodily 

And therefore he that riseth again.'^t the feeling 
of fleshly liking in meat and drink, more fally 
and more sharply than against those of pride, or 

The First Book 


covetous n ess, or lechery, or envy (the which 
because thty be more spirituaJ and less perceiv- 
able, ieem perhaps less evil, anc] are less re- 
prehended). I say that he is half-blind, for he 
seeth not his spiritual unclean n esses [a.s of pride 
and en\y), how foul they are in God's sights for, 
I believe that if a man could see with his spiritual 
eye howfcul pride and covetousness are in God's 
sight, and how contrary they are to Him, he would 
more loathe a stirring of pride, and the vftin ILlcing 
of it: ^Tid also he would more abhor and rise 
against that evil will of envy, or anger to his 
neighbour ihar many a stirring or liking either 
of gluttony or of lechery. Nevertheless, all men 
do not think so, for commonly men are more shy 
or troubled to feel a stirring of fieshly sin, and 
have for it more sorrow and heaviness than for 
great likings in vain-glory or in other ghostly 
sins. But they are not wise ; for if they would 
understand the holy Scriptures and sayings of 
doctors they should find it as I say, which I 
neither may nor will rehearse now. 

1 will not excuse them that fall in the likings 
and delights of gluttony and lechery, as if they 
sinned rot ; for I wot well that all the kinds of 
them are sins more or less, according to the 
measure of the lust and misbehaviour in the sin, 
and Other likings, with consideration of how far 
voluntary it was with other circumstances. But 
my desire is, that thou mightest know and es- 
teem all sins according as they are, indeed, the 
greater to be the greater, as are spiritual sins ; 
and the less to be the less, as are fleshly or sen- 
sual sins: and yet nevertheless would I have 
thee to hate and By ail, both bodily and 
spiritual, with all thy might. For know thou 
well, that fleshly desires and unreasonable 


The Scale of Perfection 

liking's in meat and drL:ik, or any 1iking!> th^t 
belong to the body, exceeding reasonable needs, 
though they be not always great sins to him 
that is in chanty. Nevertheless, to a soul that 
desireth cleanness and purity of heart, and a 
spiritual feeling of God, they are full heavy, 
painful and bitter, and greatlv to be eschewed; 
for the spirit cannot feel his kindly savour 
within, till the flesh hath Lost Iiis beastly 
savour without. 

And, therefore, if thou wilt come to clean- 
ness of heart, thou must strive against the un- 
reasonable stirrings of fleshly desires ; but 
against the i^ound of them thou shalt not 
rise ; for the ground of it is Netd, as natural 
hunger, which thou must necessarily feel, and 
must attend theretOf and satisfy it in fitting time 
and manner, and help thyself against it by 
medicine of meat, as thou wouldst help thyself 
in a reasonable manner against a bodily sick- 
ness, that thou mayest more freely serve God 
both bodily and spiritually. For know thou 
well, that what man or woman that shall be 
occupied spiritually in thoughts, great pain or 
hunger wilfully undertaken or bodily sickness 
or pain in the stomach, or in the head, or in 
other parts of the body for want of good ruling 
of themselves in too much fasting, or in any 
other way, will much let the spirit, and much 
hinder him from the knowing and beholding of 
spiritual things, unless he have much grace, and 
be arrived to great abilities in the Contemplative 
life. For though it be true, that bodily pain 
either of penance, or of sickness, or of bodily 
occupation, sometime letteth not the fervour of 
love to God in devotion^ but oft increaseth it, 
yet I believe that they let the fervour of love in 

The First Book 


Coni^mpliition, the which may not be had nor felt 
fully, but in rest and freedom of body and soul 
irora all the aforesaid corporal pains, wantSj em- 
ployments and solicitudes. 


VtiAl RemeJ? a Man should usf dg^inst the Faults 
in EiEing and Drinking 

Therefore, thou shah behave thyself discreetly 
about thy body, yielding it necessaries reason* 
ablVi and then let God send thee what Re 
pleasethr either health or sickness ; take it 
gladly, and grudi^e not willingly against Him, 
Do as I say> take thy meal as it cometh, 
or provide it according to reason, and take it 
gladly, as a thing that thou needest ; but be 
well aware of lusts that cometh with need, es- 
chew too much as well as too little. And having 
done, if after it there arise in thee a remorse or 
biting of conscience, that thou hast eaten too 
much, and thereupon thou becomest sad and 
heavy with overmuch bitterness against thyself, 
lift up the desire of thy heart to thy good Lord 
Jesus, and acknowledge thyself a wretch, and 
A beast, and ask Him forgiveness, and say that 
thou wilt amend it, and pray that he will forgive 
thee. Leave off then, and think no further of 
it, nor strive so much with the vice, as if thou 
wouldat destroy it uiierly, for it is not worth 
the doing so, neither ^hall thou be ever able 
to bring it about that way ; but set thyself about 
some other business bodily or j*hostly, according 
as thou iinde?.t thyself best disposed, that there- 
by thou mayest profit more in other virtues, as 
in humility and charity. For wot thou well, that 



The Scale of Perfection 

and thittiiy 


Si Lult %.v\. 

he t"hat hath in his desire and in his endeavours 
no other respect to no other thing but Humility 
and Charity, always crying after them, how he 
may have them, he shall through such desire 
and manner of working profit and increase, not 
only in those two virtues, but also in all other 
virtues together with them, as in chastity, absti- 
n*^nce and such other (^though he have but a little 
regard to them in comparison of the other, name- 
ly, Humility and Charity) more in one year than 
he should, without the said desire and manner of 
working-, profit in seven years, though he strive 
against gluttony, lechery and such other con- 
tinually, and beat himself with scourges each 
day from morning to even-song time. 

Set thyself, therefore, about Hufnility and 
Charity, and u.^ing all thy diligence and industry 
to come by them, yet shah thou have enough 
to do in getting of ihcniH And if thou canst get 
them, they will direct tliee, and measure thee 
priWly and secretly, how thou shalt eat> and how 
thou shah drink, and succour all tliy bodily 
needs, that there shall no man know of it, unless 
thou thyself do tell it bim, and that thou shalt 
not be in perplesity, scruples, vexation, anguish- 
raent, or heaviness, nor with any lust or adhering 
lo the delights and likings of sensuality, but 
shalt do all in peace of a glad conscience with 
all quietness and satisfaction- I have spoken 
more than I thought to have done in this matter, 
but ncverlhclesa do fas far as thou canst) as I say, 
and I hope God shall make all weih 

By this that I have said, thou mayest in some 
measure see into this image of sin, and perceive 
how much it hinders thee. The Gospel saith, 
ho\v that Ahr^tham spake to the rich man that 
was buried in hell, on this wise: There ts be- 

The First Book 


iwixi us and yt/u ir great chaos; that is to say, 
a thick darkness betwixt thee and us, that we 
cannot come lo thee, nor thou to us. This dark 
image in thy soul and mine may be in lilce 
manner called a chaos, that is, a great darkness, 
for it letteth us that we cannot come to Abrahtimf 
which is Jesus, and it letteth Him, that He will 
not come to us. 


Of tlie Fit* Windows of ehia dark Image, and what 
Cometh in by th^m, and bow they ore to be ordered 

Lift up thy lanthom, and thou shalt see in this r^r^-w ii 
image five windows, by which sin cometh into 
thy soul J as the Prophet saithr Dmtk comeih in 
by cur windf^ps. These are the five senses by 
which thy soul goelh out of herself, and fetch- 
eth her delight, and sceketh her feeding in 
earthly things, contrary to the nobility of her own 
nature. As by the eye to see curious and fair 
things, and so of the other senses. By the unslcil- 
fiil using of these senses willingly to vanities, thy 
soul is much letted from the i.weetness of the 
spiritual senses within ; and therefore it be- 
hoveth thee to stop these windows* and shut 
them, but only when need requireth to open 

And this would be little mastery or difficulty xht ufnicr- 
for thee lo do, if thou didst once see thy own soul standing of 
by clear understanding what it is, and how fair it '^r/^l'^^u& 
is in its own nature, and so ia still, were it not so makrusfor- 
overlaid with a black t^antle of this foul image, iB*r/<jA{f 
But because thou knowest it not, therefore leavest ' "^' 
thou the inward sight of thyself, and seekest thy 
food without, abroad, like a brute beast> Thus 


The Scale of Perlcction 

saith oiar Lord in a threatening way to a chosen 
Ca»fif. u soul in holy Writ : Thou fairest am<mg n'omfn, if 
ihmi knawf-sl fwi thyself^ go oui, and ^malk after the 
siefs of ifte flock of (ny felli/wst and feed thy ktds. 
And It ia aa much as to say : Thou aoul, fair by 
nature, made after the likeness of God, frail in 
thy body as a woraao, by reason of the first 
sin, that thou knowest not thyself, nor how that 
angeis' food should be thy delights within, there- 
fore goest thou out by thy bodily senses, and 
seekest thy meat and thy liking as a beast of 
the Bock, that is as* one outcast and rejected, 
and therewith thou feedest thy thoughts and 
thine affections, which are unclean as gloats. It 
15 a shame for thee to do so. 

And, therefore, turn home again into thyself, 
and hold thee within, and beg no more without, 
namely, swines' meat. For if thou wilt needs be 
a beggar, ask and crave within of thy Lord Jesua, 
for He is rich enough, and gladlier would give 
thee than thou canst a^k, and run no more out 
as a beast of the flock, that is a worldly man or 
woman, that hath no delight but in his bodily 
senses. And if thou do thus, thy Lord Jesus 
will give thee all that thou needest, for He will 
lead thee into His wine cellar, and make thee to 
taste and try His wines, which liketb thee best, 
for he hath many tuns. Thus a chosen soul, joy- 
QitHc* ii. ing in our Lord, aaith of Him in holy Writ : 7%e 
King brought me inii> His ivine tellar. That is to 
say : Ina^imuch as I forsook the drunkenness of 
fieshly lusts and worldly likings, which are bitter 
as wormwood, therefore the King of bliss, the 
Lord Jesus, led me in : that is, first into myself 
for to behold and know myself, and after He led 
roe into His cellar ; that is to say, above myself , 
' Reprieved, 


The First Book 


by ascending and passing into Him alone, and 
gave mo a laste of His wine i that is for to taste 
a cenaincy of spiritual sweetness and heavenly 
joy. These aro not the words of me, a wretched 
caitiff, living in sin, but ihey are the words of 
the spouse of our Lord in holy Writ; and these 
words I say to lhee» to the end that thou might- 
est draw in thy soul Ixom without, and follow on 
further as well as thou canst. 

I will show thee furthermore (for thy desire \i'f>rf, fa* fiet] 
draweth more out of my heart than I thought to '}f/''S^I'" 
have said in the beginning) when the use of thy 'sZ,i'mlihtn 
sense* be deadly sin, and when venial. Thus, f"h vniaL 
therefore, our Lord aaith in the Gospel : A men 
made a gr^aC supper, and called fnany therch^ and -S/iwfcxiv. 
sent his servant at suppcT'ttmey a/ier titan that 
were hidden. The first excused himself, and said 
en this wise, fhat he could not come^ fur he had 
bought a farm. The other also excused himse//\ 
that he could not a^me, for he had bought five yoke 
of oxen, and watt to fry than. The thira^for that 
he had mafritd a wife. I forbear to speak of 
the first and of the last, and will tell ye of ih© 
middlemost of ihem, that had bought the oxen, 
for he is to our purpose. Five yoke of oxen be- 
token the five senses, which are beastly as an ox. 
Now this man that was called to the supper was 
not rejected because he bought the oxen, hui be- 
cause he went to try them, and so he wouid not 
come. Right so say I to thee ; for to have thy 
senses, and to use them in need, it is no sin^ but 
if thou go voluntarily to try them by rain de- 
lights in creatures, then it is sin. And if thou 
choose that delight as a final rest of thy soul, 
and as a full liking, that thou carest not to have 
any other bliss but such worldly vanities, then is 
it deadly, for tliou choosest It as thy God, and so 


The Scale of Perfection 

shah thou be put from thy supper ; for St Paul 
forbids us to use our ceases in thai manner when 
he said thus: Thou shall not go after thy lusts, 
nor voluntarily try thy likings. A man or a 
woman that is encumbered with deadly sin shall 
hardly escape deadly sin in this business, though 
he perceiveth it not; but I hope this toucheth 
not thee. 

Nevertheless^ if thou through frailty delight 
thee in thy senses, and in such vanities, but yet 
keep est thyself in charity and the grace of 
God as to other things, and choosest not this de- 
light for a full rest of thy soul, but always settest 
up God above all things in thy desire, this sin in 
thee is venial ; and that more or less according 
to its circumstances; nor shalt thou for these 
venial sins be put from the supper in the bliss 
of heaven, but thou shalt want the tasting and 
the assaying of that delicate sapper, whilst thou 
livest here on earth, unless Ihou be busy with all 
thy might to withstand and conquer such venial 
sins, for though it be so that venial sios break 
not charity* yet soothly they let the fervour and 
the ghostly feeling of charity. 

But thou wilt say again, that thou canst not 
keep from hearing of vanities, for divers, both 
those that live in the world and others, come oft 
to speak with thee, and tell thee some tales of 

As unto this I say thus, that thy communing 
with thy neighbour is not much hurt to thee, but 
helpeth thee sometimes, if thou order thy busi- 
ness wisely; for that thou mayesl try and find 
out thereby the measure of thy charity to thy 
neighbour, whether it be much or little. Thou 
art bounden (as all other men and women are) to 
love thy neighbour principally in thy heart, and 

'he First Book 



also in deeds to show him tokens of charity, as 
reason askeih, according; to thy might and know- 
ledge. And since it is so that thou oughtest not 
to go out of thy house to seek occasion how thou 
mighlcat profit thy neig-hbour by deed.s of charity, 
btcausa thou art enclojied ; nevertheless thou art 
bound to love all men in thy heart, and to show 
some tokens of true love to them that came to 
thee. And therefore, whoso will speak with 
thee, whatsoever he be, or of what degree ^o- 
ever, though thou knowe^t not what he is^ nor 
why he comeih, yet be thou 50on ready with 
a good will to ask what his will is, be not 
dainty, nor suffer him long to wait for thee, 
but look how ready and how glad thoii wouldst 
be if an angel of heaven should come and speak 
with thee, so ready and so buxom be thou in will 
for to speak with thy neighbour when he cometh 
to ihee, for thou knowest not what he is, nor why 
he cometh, nor what need he hath of thee, or 
ou of him, till thou habt tried. And though 
thou be at prayer, or at thy demotions, that thou 
thinkest loth to break off, for that thou thinkest 
that thou oughieal not leave God for to apeak 
with any one, I think not so in this case, for if 
thou be wise thou shatt not leave God, but thou 
shalt find Him, and have Him. and see Him, in 
thy neighbour, as well as in prayer, only in 
another maEner. 

If thou canst lov€ thy neighbour well, to speak 
with thy neig-hbour with discretion shall be no 
hindrance to ihee. Discretion shalt thou have 
on this manner as me thinkcth ; Whoso cometh 
to thee, ask him meekly what he would have; 
and if he come to tell thee his disease or trouble 
and to be comforted by thy speech, hear him 
gladly^ and suffer him to say what he will, for 

rAern that 
coric iit if'inti 


The Scale of Perfection 

ease of his own heart ; and when he hath done, 
comfort him if thou canst, gladly, gently and 
charitably, and aoon break oS. And then, after 
that, if he will fall into idle tales, or vanities of 
the world, or of other men's actions, answer him 
but little, and feed not his speech, and he will 
soon be weary, and quickly take his leave, 

Jf it be another man that cometh to leach 
thee, as some Churchman, etc.^ hear him hum- 
bly, and with reverence to his order ; and if his 
speeches comfort thee, ask of him more what 
thou needest, and take not upon thee to leach 
htm, for it falleth not to thy share to teach a 
priest, but in case of necessity. If his speech 
comfort thee or pro&t thee not, answer little, and 
he will soon take his leave^ 

Jf it be another man that cometh to give thee 
his alms, or olse for to hear thee speak, or to 
be taught by thee, speak gently and humbly to 
them all, reprove no man for his faults, for that be- 
longeth not to thee, unless he be the more homely 
or familiar with thee, that thou knowest that he 
will take it well from thee. And to be short in 
this matter of thy telling of another of his faults, 
I say, that when thou conceivest that it will do 
him good (namely, in his soul) thou mayest tell 
him thy mind, if thou hast opportunity, and if he 
is likely to take it well. And above all other 
things, in this matter of conversing with thy 
neighbour, keep silence as much as thou canst, 
and then shalt thou see that by so doing thou 
Shalt in short time be troubled with little press 
or company that would come to hinder thy de- 
votions. This is ray opinion herein ; do thou 
better if thou canst. 

The First Book 



Of ihrtt Starts of Men, whereof some be not reformed, 
and some be reformed oaly m Faith, and some 
both in Faith and Fceiin^ 

But thou wile say that Lhou hast done all this, 
namely, stopped the windows of thy five senses, so 
that thou seest no worldly things, nor hearest 
them, nor hasl any use of thy senses, more than 
need reqiiireth ; and for that end thou art en- 
ctosedn And to this I answer : If thou do thus, 
as I hope thou do^t, then hast thou stopped a 
great window of this image, but yet art thou not 
secure ; for that thou hast not stopped the privy 
holes of the imaginaiions of thy heart. For 
though thou seest me not with thy bodily eye. 
yet mayest thou see me at the same time in thy 
soul b/imag;inaticn ; and so irayest thou do of 
all bodily things. If, tht^n^ tliou feede^^t thy soul 
willingly and wittingly by imaginations of vani- 
ties of the world, and desiring of worldly things ; 
as a comfort or pleasure and ease ; verily though 
thy soul be kept within as to thy bodily senses, 
it h notwithstanding far without by tuch vain 

But now lhou wilt ask me whether it be any 
great sin for a soul to busy itself in such vani- 
ties, cither by the outward senses or by the in- 
ward imaginations and thoughts. As unto this 
1 say ; that I would never have thee ask any man 
this question ; for he that will truly love God, he 
osketh not commonly, iDhether this or that he tht 
greater st7t? For he will think that whatsoever 
Eletli him from the love of God is a great sin, 
will think nothing sin but that thing which 


The Scale of Perfection 

is not good, and letteth him from the love of 
God. What is sin but a wanting or & forbear- 
ing" of good i I say not that it will or ought to 
grieve mm so much as a mortal sin would, or 
a venial sin should, neither say 1 but that he 
knoweth and distinguishelh a mortal sin from 
a venial, and fleeth it more than the other 


A Brief ReKcueal of whit h&ih been said la the 
former Chaptero^ with Ji Pcrlraiturc of ihb d«k 
Image of Sin 

By this that X have said mayest thou see a little 
the darknesa of this image of sin, not that I h&v& 
described it fully to thee as it is^ for I cannot; 
nevertheless by this little thou mayest see mora 
if thou look well. 

But thou wilt say, how know you that I bear 
about me such an image aa you speak of? To 
which I answer, that I may take to me a word 

/wl lii. said by the prophet, which is this : htveni idolum 
mihi^I have found an tdol tn wyu//: that is, a 
false image, which some call an idol, very foul, 
disfigured and miHshapen with wretchedness of 
all those sins which 1 have spoken of, by the 
which 1 am cast down into fleshly or -sensual 
pleasures and worldly vanities, from cleanness 
of heart, and feeling of spiritual virtues, more 
than I can or may say ^ and such fall of mine 
much grieveth me, and I cry God mercy for it. 
By this wretchedness which I feel in my own 
aelfj more than 1 have said, may I the better tell 
thee of thy image, for we all came oi Adam and 
Eve, clothed with clothes of beasts' skins, as the 

Gen. m. Scripture saith : Our L&rd made fo Adam and /as 

The First Book 


The Paris of 
this Jmnef* 

Scelus. K. 

m/e ciothss of a host's hide. In token that by 
5tn ihey were come to be misshapen like to a 
beast, in which beastly clothes we all are born, 
and wrapped, and disftgiired from our kingly 

This then is an ugly imagre to look upon ; 
whose head is pride ; for pride 15 the first and 
principal "^in, as ihe wke man saith \ The hi' 
ginmng of ail friarmer ^sin is pri<U, The back 
and hinder pari of it is covtiousness^ as St Paul Phu. \\i, 
saith ? / forget that which is behind (vizi, all 
worldly things) and I s/rekh forward to £hal which 
is bifvre. The breast (in which is the heart) is 
Envy I for it is no fleshly sin, but it is a devil's 
sin. as the ivise man salth : Ry envy of the dfvil wUd, ji. 
dfoih carm into the 'worlds for ail those that are of 
his party follow him therein. The arms of it are 
ftrro/A, inasmuch as a man wreaketh or revenfl-eth 
himself by his arms, contrary to ChrisVa bidding 
in the Gospeh If a man smite thee upon one cheeky Si Mat/, v, 
thou shalt not smite him ag'ain, but offer htm the 
other. The belly of this image is giuttoity, as St 
Paul saith : Meat serveth for the belly-, and the , cor. vi. 
Ully for meait hut God shall destroy them both ; 
namely, at the last dav, when shall be the full re- 
forming of his chosen, and damning' of the repro- 
bate. The members of it are lechery, ^f iht^ which 
St Paul saith thus : Yield not your members to be 
instruments of iniquity unto sin; especially to 
this sin of lechery. The feet of it are sloth; there- 
fore the wiae man said to the slow and lazy 
person (to stir him up to do good deeds), R^en, Prtrv. vi. 
make hasle^ ratse thy friend, that is to say, run 
quickly about to good works, and make haste, for 
the time passeih, and raise up thy friendj which 
i* Je^us, by devout Prayer and Meditation, Here 
hiut thou heard the members of this image. 



The Scale of Perfection 

PsaL EZ3L1 


A cfMTiparJns of thii Imagie with \hz Tma&c of Jfsuit 
and how it is to ht dealt with 

This i% not the imaK^e of Jesus, but it is lilcer an 
image of the Devil, for the image of Jeaus is 
made of virtues, with humility' and perfect love 
and charity ; but tbis is made of false fleshly love 
to thyself, with all those members, spoken of in 
the former chapter^ fastened thereto. This image 
bearest thou, and every man whatsoever he be, 
until by grace of Jesus it be somewhat destroyed 
and broken down. Thus David seemeth to say 
in the Psalter: Man fiassdh azvay as an image^ 
arid is trotthUd in tiatn. Which is as if he had 
said I Though it be so that man in the beginniag 
was made after the image of Grod, stable and 
sledfast ; nevertheless because of sin, he pro- 
ceedeth far in this image of sin, living in this 
world, by the which he is unstable and troubled 
in vain. Also Si Paul speakoth of this Image 
thus ; As zoff have kerttofoTK horns the ima^e of the 
earthly man, the first Adam, that is, the image of 
sin, Right so mrw (if we will come to the love of 
God) Ut us bear the im'^ge of the heavifily ntan 
*Jesus, which ia ih^ image of virtues. 

Wliat shalt thou do with this imager T an- 
t&Ucruii^ed. gp^^p tjjg^ ^y a ^^.^^^^ ^^^^ ^he Jews said to Pilate 

of Christ — Lrucxfy Him. Take thou this bociy of 
sin, and do Him on the Cross ; that is to say, 
break down this image, and slay the false love of 
sin in thyself: as Christ's body was slain for our 
sins and trespasses ; right so it behoveth thee, if 
thou wilt be like Christ, slay thy bodily liking 
Gal. V. and fleshly lusts in thyself, Thus said St Paul: 

The First Book 


Those that art Christ* s /ollu:eers have crtuijied and 
slam ihetrJhsJt (that is, the image of sin) wt£h ail 
(he lusis, and the unreasonable desires and appe- 
tites of it. Slay then and break down Pride, and 
set up Humilii/i also break down Angler and 
Hnvj', and raise up Love and Charity to thy 
neighbour. Also instead of C ove to usneas, poverty 
of Spirit; instead of Sloth, fervour in devotion 
with cheerful readiness to all gfood deeds { and 
instead of Gluttony and Lechery^ Sobriety and 
Charity in body and soul. This considered St 
Paul, when he said thus ; PuUing off the oU man ^/A«. [v. 
Tutfk nil his numbers, whtch is rotten tiecor/itug to 
the desires of error, ye shall yhape you and chthe 
you in the nem vuiit^ ivhich is ike image of God by 
holiness and rtghfecuswss and perfection of vir- 
tues. Who shall help thee to break down this 
image 1 Verily thy Lord Jesus. In the virtue 
and in the Name erf Hira shalt thou break down 
this mawment (or idol) of sin, pray to Him 
earnestly, and desire it, and He shall help thee. 

Gather then thy heart together, and t!o after '_**^' Byker^ 
the counsel of the wi3e man, when he saith thus : 
IVtth ail diligence keep thitic hearty for out of tt 
tometh life, and that is when it is well kept, for /Vbv. it. 
then wise thoughts, dean affections and burning 
desires of virtues and of charity, and of the bliss 
of Heaven come out of it, making" the soul to live 
A. blessed life. But on the contrary, if it be noi 
kept, then as our Lord saith in the Gospel, evil 
thoughts and unclean affections come out of ike 
heart ivhich defile thf msan. They either benumb 
and kill the life of the soul by mortal sin, or else 
they enfeeble the soul and make it sick, if they 
be venial. Vot what is a man but hb thoughts 
;ttuf his loves? These alone make a man good 
or bad* bo much as thou lovest tiod and thy 

A^fd Mow? 
1st. Bytht 
help 9/ /cnf. 

iHg out 


The Scale of Perfection 

9 w m/wy 

heirr/ at J 

neigfhbour, and knowest Him, so much is thy 
soui, and if thuu love Him litile, liiile is thy soul, 
and if Ihou love Him not at 3\\j nothing at all 
is thy souL It i& nothing as to good, but it is 
much as to sin. And if thou wilt know what 
thou lovest, look and observe what thou thinkest 
upon most, for where our love is» there is our 
eye; and where our liking is, upon that our 
heart is thinking moht. If thou love God much, 
thou likest to think much upon Him, and if thou 
love Him little, then little doat thou think upon 
Him. Rule well thy thoug-hts and thine affec- 
tions, and then art thou virtuous. 

Undertake then the breaking down of Ihia 
imag*e, when thou hast first well bethought thee 
ol tiiyself, and of ihy wretchedness, inwardly* as 
1 have said, how proud, how vain, how envious, 
how melancholy (or frowardj, how covetous, how 
f eshly, and how full of corruption. Also how 
little knowing, feeling or savour thou hast of 
Gud and of spiritual things, how wise, how quick 
and how much savour thou hast in earthly things. 
And (that I may say all in one word) how thou 
art as full of sin as an hide or skin is full of fiesh, 
yet be not thou loo much dejected, though thou 
thinkest thus of thyself And when thou hast 
done thuSf lift up then the desire of thy heart to 
thy Lord Jesus, and pray for His help, cry to 
Him with great desires and sighings that He 
will help thee to bear this great burthen of thia 
image, or else that He w^ll break it. Think also 
what a shame it is for thee to be fed with swmes' 
meat of fleshly savours, that oughtest to ftsel 
a spiritual &avour of heavenly joy. 

If thou dost thus^ then beginnesl thou to rise 
against the whole ground of sin in thee, as I have 
said. And it may be that thou shalt feel pain 

The First Book 


and sorrow, for thou must know that no soul can 

live without pain, heavinesji and sadness, unless 

that she tako delight or have her rest either in 

her Creator or in some crealiire. And, therefore, 

when thou riseat against thyself by a fervent 

desire for to attain to the feeHng^ of thy Lord 

Jesus within thee, and for to draw away thy love 

from ail bodily thinjfs, and from rest in all bodiJy 

feelings, insomuch that thou art even a burthen 

to thyself, and it seems to thee that all creatures 

are risen up against thee, and all the things, 

which heretofore thou tookest delight in, do now 

turn thee to pain and heaviness. And when thou 

hast thus forsaken thyself, and canst not likely, 

for all that, aa yet find comfort in God, neeiia 

must thy soul feel and suffer pain in this case. 

Nevertheless, I hope that he that will suffer this 

pain awhile, stedfastly, cleaving' to the desire 

and naked mind after Jesus Christ, and to that 

hb desire, that he will have nothing but hia 

Lord, and will not lightly depart therefrom, nor 

seek any other comfort from without for a lima 

(for it iasteth not long), our Lord is nigh to him, 

and soon shall ease his heart, for He will help 

him to bear his body or eensuaUty, which is full 

of corruption ; and will, with His merciful power 

of His gracious presence, break down this false 

image of love in him ; not all at once, but by a'i?rrfj more 

little and little, till he be in some measure re- "^>* 

formed to His likeness. 

After such a total rising and resolution made 

by thee against thyself, when it is passed thou 

shall more soberly, more genily and more easily rhrmeam to 

rule thyselfj and more charily keep and guard fiidUtaiMit. 

I thy thoughts and thine affections, and shak note 

I and discern them, whether they be good or bad. 

I And thereupon if afterwards thou feel (1 put this 

Bui fljfei' 


The Scale of Perfection 

for an example) a stirring of pride in any manner 
or spice of it, be then presently well aware, as 
well and as soon as thou canst, and sufTer it not 
to escape away lig-htly, but take it in mind, and 
there rent it, break it and despise It, and do all 
the shame thou canst unto it ; look thou spare it 
notf nor believe it, though it speak never so fair, 
for it is false, though it seem to be truth ; as the 
liaiasiU. prophet sailh : My people^ Ihfiy who call thse 
hiesscdt do deceive thee (by their so saying) and 
tt)ouid bring thee into error. 

And if thou be diligent to do thus, thou shall, 
by the grace of Jesus, within short time, stop 
much of the spring of Pride and much abate tha 
vain delight thereof, so that thoii shalt very early 
feel any such motion in thee. And when thou 
feelest it, it shall be so weak and, as ic were, ha]f 
dead, that it shall not much trouble thee. And 
then shalt thou have a spintual sight of the 
virtue of Humility, and see how good and how 
fair it is, and thou shalt desire it and love it for 
it* goodness, so that it shall please thee both to 
behold and see thyself as thou art indeed, and 
also to be esteemed and held by others to be 
such a one, that is full of corruption, and [if need 
be) to suffer gladly despite and reproof for love of 

In like manner when thou feelest any stir- 
rings of wrath, or anger, or of melancholic 
risings of heart, or any other evil will against 
thy neighbour, for any manner of cause, though 
it seem reasonable, and not to be against chanty, 
beware of it, and be ready with thy thought to 
restrain it, that it turn not into a further liking 
or consent ; resist it as much as thou canst, and 
follow it not neither by word nor deed ; but as it 
rtsethj smite It down again, and so shalt thou 

The First Book 


slay it with the sword of the fear of God^ that it 
shall not trouble thee, for know well in all lliese 
stirrings of pride, valn-glory, envy, or any other, 
that as soon as thou perceiveth iti and resistest 
it with displeasure of thy will and of thy reason, 
thou slayeat it. Though it be so, that it cleave 
siill upon thy heart ag^ainat thy will, and will 
not lightly pass away, fear it not, for though 
it letteth thy soul from peace, yet dolh it not 
defile her, 

Ri^ht so in like manner shalt thou do against 
all evil stirrings of Covetousnehs, Sloth, Gluttony 
and Lechery i that thou be always ready with 
thy reason and thy will to reprove them and 
despise them, 

>'Vnd this mayest thou do the better, and the 
more readily, if thou be diligent and careful to 
set thy heart most upon one thing, and that is AiLfXTfUfni 
nought else but a spiritual desire after God, hnw ^f^^ff^'^^ 
to please Him, love Him and know Him, to see •ntour ,/e.>irt 
Him and to enjoy Him by grace here in a little "^t g°^' 
feeling, and in the bliss of Heaven in a full being. 
This desire, if thou keep it, it will tell thee what 
is sin, and what is not ; and what thing is good 
and what belter ; and if thou wilt but fasten thy 
thoughts to the same desire, it shall teach thee 
all that thou needest, and ic shall procure thea 
all that thou wantest. And, theretore, whenso- 
ever tliou risest against the ground of sin in 
Sfeneral, or again&t the ground of any particular 
Mn, hang fast upon this desire^ and set the point 
of thy thoughts more upon God whom thou 
desirest than upon the sin which thou abhorrest. 
And if thou do so, then God fighteth for the*', 
and will destroy sin in thee. And thou shale 
much sooner come to thy purpose if thou doest 
thus, than if thou shouldst leave thy humble 



The Scale of Perfection 

desire principally after God, and set thy heart 
only against the stirring's of sin, as though thou 
^■ouldst destroy it by thy own mastering of it, 
but thou 5haU never so bring il about. 



How a Man sh^II be shap«n to the Iir^ge of Jeaus, 

dnd JcAua sKap^n in him 

Do aa 1 have said, and better if thou canst, and 
I hope by the grace of Jesus thou shalt make the 
devil ashamed, and shalt break down all such 
wicked stirrings, that they shall not much trouble 
thee. And by this course may the image of sin 
be broken down in thee and destroyed, by the 
which thou art misshapen from the kindly shape 
of Christ's image ; and thou shalt be reformed 
and shapen again to ihe image of the Humanity 
of Jesus, by humility and charii}'-, and after- 
vrards shalt thou become full shapen to the 
image itself of the Godhead, whilst thou livesi 
here, as it were in a shadow of it in contempla- 
tion, and hereafter in verity and full reality in 
the bliss of Heaven. 

Of this shaping to the likeness of Christ S£ 
Paul speaks thus i My iittle chiUrcn whom I 
travail -.vilh again (as a woman that were with 
child with you) laifil Chrht he ^haptti agnin ik 
you. Uliou hast conceived Christ within thee by 
faith, and Helrvethin thy soul by grace, inasmuch 
as thou habt a good will and a desire to serve Him 
and please Him ; but He is not yet fully shapen 
an thee^ nor thou in Him by perfection of charity. 
And therefore St Paul bare thee and me and 
others also with travail, as a woman beareth 


'he First Book 


a child, until the time thai Christ hath His foil 
shape in ua, and we in Him. Of this treateth 
the second book. 


Th? Conclusion of this Book, and of tfif Cnuse wfiy 
11 was made, and how she for wliom it was made 
vd^ to make use o£ it 

Whoso thinkest to attain to the working anJ Thrtrue-rvaf 
to the full use of contemplation and rot by this '" ^"'"^ '<> 
way, that is by perfection of virtues, and taking J^^'^''"'^'"' 
full heed thereto, cometh not in by the door, and 
therefore as a thief ho shall be cast ouc. I say 
not but that a man may have by the gift of God, 
at by times, a tasting and a glimmering of the con- 
templative life; some I say at the beginning of 
their conversion. But the solid feeling of it shall 
he not have, until he have gotten in him some 
perfection of virtues. For Christ is the door, 
and is aUo the porter, and without His leave 
and His liberty no man may come in ; as He 
Himself saith : A'l? man conictk to the Father but stphu v[v. 
hy Aft. That is to say, no man can come to the 
contemplation of the Gotlhead but he that is first 
reformed by perfection of humility and charity, 
10 the likeness of Jesus in His Humanity. 

Lo, then, have I told thee a little^ as melhink- 
eth, first of Contemplaii\'e life, what it is; and 
then of the ways which, by the grace of God, 
lead thereunto. Not as if I had it myself in 
feeling and in working, as I have it in talking. 
Nevertheless, I would b/ this writing of mine 
(such as it is) first stir up my own negligence to 
do better than I have done ; and also my purpose 
is, to stir thee, or any other man or woman that 


The Scale of Perfection 

hath taken the slate of life Coniemplative, to 
traviiil more diligently and more humbly in that 
manner of life, by such simple words as God 
hath given me grace for to say. And therefore, 
if there bi^ any word therein thai stirreth thee or 
corafoneth ihee more lo the love of God, thank 
God, for it is His gift and not of the words 
written. And if it comfoneih thee not, and 
thou uTiderstandest it not readily, study not too 
long about it, but lay it aside till another time, 
and go to thy prayers or some other business; 
take it as it will come, and not all at once. 

Also these words which I write, take them 
not too strictly, but when thou thinkest, upon 
good consideration, that 1 write too short, either 
Tor lack of English or lack of reason, I pray 
thee amend it only where need is. Alao these 
words which 1 write to thee, belong not all of 
them lo one that is of an active life, but to thee 
or to any other which hath the state of life con- 

The Grace of our Lord Jeaos Christ be wilh 




Thai a M±n is ihe Im^^e of Gnd afler ihc SouT and 
not aft«r tk« Body; and how tie is restored and 
reformed thereto that wa^ mi&shiipcn by Sin 

Forasmuch as tbou desirest greatly, and askest 
it for charily, to hear more of that image of 
which I ha%'e spoken in the former book in parti 
iherefore I shall williTigly, with fear, fall to ihy 
desire, and by the help of our Lord's grace, in 
whom I fully trust, shall open to tliee a little 
more of this image. 

1 tell thee in truth, that 1 understand nought 
else thereby, bat thy soul. For thy soul and my 
soul and every rational soul is an image, and 
that a worthy one, for it is the image of (rod, 
as the Scripture saith: Man ss God's ima^e iwd ^^^ , 
ituttfc to the image aitd likeness of Him; not in His 
bodily shape without, but in his faculties withrr, 
as holy Writ saith ; Our Lord Gi>d shitted man 
in f/s's soul Co His ( luiage and likfut^ss. This 
is the image that 1 have spoken of. This image, 
made after the image of God in its first shaping, 
was wonderful fair and bright, full of burning 
love and ghostly light, but through the sin of the 
first man Adam it was disfigured and misshapen 
into another likeness, as 1 have said before, for it 
fell from that gho^tly light and that heavenly 
feeding into painful darkness and lust of this 


The Scale of Perfection 

wretched life, exiled and driven out from the 
inheritance of Heaven, thai it should have had 
if it had continued, into the wretchedness of this 
earchi and afterward into the prison of hell, there 
lo have been without end ; from which prison it 
should never rtturii to the heavenly inheritance 
until it were reformed to the first shape and like- 
ness. But that reforming could not be made by 
any eanhh' man, for every man was in the same 
mischief, and none was sufhcietit to help himself, 
and so much less another man. Therefore it 
needed to be done by Him that was more than 
man, that ]s God alone- And it was needful that 
He should reform and restore man to bliss (if 
ever he were to be saved) who of His infinite 
goodness first created him thereto. Now, then, 
1 shall tell thee, how he might be reformed, and 
how he is reformed to his fi.rst likeness by Him 
that firiil made and framed him, for that is the 
restoTfit intent of this wrilingn The justice of God re- 
ftyf^fPiisiion quireth that a sin committed be not forgiven, 
unless that amends be made for it, if it may be 
done. Now it is certain that mankind that 
was perfect in Adam the first man (sinning so 
grievously against God, when he broke His 
special command, and assented to the false 
counsel of the devil) deserved justly to be 
separated from Him, and damned to hell with- 
out end, so far forth, that according to God's 
justice, he could not be forgiven, unless amends 
were first made, and fuU satisfaction given. Bu^t 
this amends could none makethat was man only. 
and proceeded out o? Aif-fm by generation; be- 
cause that the trespass and dishonour done to 
God was endless great^ and therefore it passed 
man's power to make amends for it. And, 
sixt/ntify, because he that had offended, and would 



'he Second Book 


make amends for it, ougfht to give and pay unto 
him whom he had offended, all that he owed him, 
though he had not offended, and over and besides 
ihal, to give and pay him something ihat he 
owed notj ir regard of the same offence and in^ 
jury done, Bui mankind had not wherewith to 
pay God for his trespass* over and above that 
which he owed him, for what good soever man 
CDuld do in body or soul wa.s but his debt; for 
every iran oupfbt, as the Gospel saith : /"br to lovt 
God ivUh ail //IS hearty and all hts soul, artd all 
his might ; and belter than this could he not do ; 
and nevertheless this deed was not sufficient to 
the reforming of mankind, nor could he do this 
until he was hrst reformed. Then needed it, that 
if man's soul should be reformed, and the tres- 
pass made good, that our Lord God Himself 
should reform this image, and make amends for 
the trespass, since no man could. But that 
might He not do in His Godhead, for He might 
Tiui, nor ought not, to make amends by suffering 
pain in Hi.^ own nature, therefore it was neces- 
sary, that He should lake the same nature that 
had trespassed, and so become man. And that 
could Me not do by the common way of genera- 
lion ; for it was impossible for God's Son to be 
born of touched woman, therefore must He be- 
come man through a gracious generation by the 
working of the Holy Gho&l of a pure gracious 
Virgin our Lady SS Mary ; and so it was done ; 
for our Lord Jesus, God's Son, became man ; and 
through His precious death which He suffered, 
made amends to the Father of Heaven for man's 
guilt. And that could He well do, for He was 
God, and ought not anything for Himself, but 
only as He was man, born of the same kind that 
Adam was that tirst trespassed, and so though 


The Scale of Perfection 

He ought it not for His own person, for that He 
had not sinned. Nevertheless He oiig-ht it of His 
free will, for the trespass of maokind, having 
taken upon Him their nature for the salvation 
of man, out of His endless mercy, 

Forbooih it is, there was never any man that 
could yield to God anything of his own which he 
owed not, but only this blessed Jesus; for He 
coLild pay God something' which He owed nor, 
for Himself, which was but one thing-, namely, to 
give His precious life by voluntary undertaking 
death for Love of justice, this He owed not. As 
much good indeed as He was able to do in thii 
life, for the honour of God was all but due debt ; 
but to undergo death for the love of justice, He 
was not bound thereto. He was bound to justice, 
but He was not bound to die : for death is only 
a pain ordained to man for his own sin. But our 
Lord Jesus Christ never sinned, neither could sin, 
and therefore He ought not to clje. Since then 
He ought not to die, and yet died willingly, there- 
fore paid He to God more than He ought. And 
since that was the best man's deed, and most 
worthy that ever was done, therefore, was it rea- 
aonable that the sin of mankind should be for- 
given- Inasmuch as mankind had found a man 
of tiie same kind, without spot of sin, that is 
Jesus; that might make amends for the trespass 
done^ and might pay our Lord God all that He 
ought ; and over and above, that which He ought 
not- Since, then, that our Lord Jesus, God and 
man, died thus for the salvation of man's soul, 
it was just that sin should be forgiven, and man's 
soul, that was His image, should or might be re- 
formed and restored to the first likeness, and to 
the bliss of Heaven. 

This passion of our Lord, and this precious 

The Second Book 


death is the ground of all the reforming of man's 
30ul; wiihout which man's soul could never be 
reformed to the likeness of ?Iim, nor cume to the 
bliss of Heaven ; but blessed be He for aU these 
Hi* works. Now so it is, that through the virtue 
of Hk precious pa&sion, the flaming asvord of the 
Cherubim that drove Adam out of Paradise is 
now put away ; and the endless gates of Heaven 
are open to every man that will enter in thereto. 
For the person of Jesus is both God and King of 
Heaven in the bliss of the Father, and as man. 
He is porter at the gate> ready to receive every 
soul that will be reformed here in this life to His 
likeness. For now may every soul, if he will, be 
reformed to the likeness of God; since that the 
trespass is forgiven, and the amends through 
Jesus is made for the first guilt, Neverlheleas 
though this be true, yet all souls have not the 
profit nor the fruit of this precious passion, nor 
are reformed to the likeness of Him. 


I That Jfws anc^ Pagans and also falw Christians ate 
I not reformed cffeclually through the virtue of the 

I Pauion through their own Faults 

r Two manner of men are not reformed by the 
I virtue of this passion. One ia of them that know 
I it not ; another is of them that love it not, Jews 
and Pagans have not the beaehtj because they 
know it not- Jews under?itand rot that Jesus the 
Son of the Virgin Mdry is God's Son. Also the 
Pagans know it rot that the sovereign wisdom of 
God would become the Son of man, and in His 
manhood would suffer the pains of death. And 
therefore the Jews held the preaching of the 


The Scale of Perfection 

Cross and of the Passion nought but slander 
and blasphemy i and the Pagans held it nought 
but fancy and foUy. But tme Christians hold it 
the sovereign wisdom of God and His mighiy 
I &*. r. power. Thus saith Sf Paul: We preach unto 
you Christ crtACifUd, h ikt Jews a siumbhng blacky 
and to tkt' Gtntile^ foolishness ; hut to those that be 
called, both Jews and Greeks, Chnst the Po^er of 
G^ and tkt Wisdtrm xjf God. And therefore these 
men* through their unbeliefj put themselves Irom 
the reforming' of their own souls, and continuing 
in this unbelief, shall never be saved nor come to 
the bliss of Heaven. Forsooth it is, from the be- 
ginning of Lhe world to the last emiing wa.'i there 
never any man saved, nor shall be, unless he be- 
lieve generally or specially in Jesus Christ, to 
come, or already come. For right as all chosen 
souls, that were before the Incarnation under the 
Old Testament, believed in Christ that He should 
come, to reform men's souls; and that either with 
Fin open and clear belief, as the Patriarchs and 
Prophets and other holy men did ; or else with 
a secret and general belief, as children and other 
simple and imperfect soul^ had thac had no 
special or explicit clear knowledge of the My- 
stery of the Incarnation ; right so, all chosen souls 
under the New Testament have belief in Christ 
already corner either openly and feelingly, as 
spiritual men and wise men have, or else gene- 
rally, as children have that are christened, and 
other simple and unlearned souls have, that are 
nourished in the bosom of holy Church. 

Since this is so, methinks that those men err 
greatly and grievously who say that Jews and 
Turks» by keeping of their own law, may be 
saved, though they believe not in Jesus Christ, 
as holy Church believeth \ inasmuch as they be- 


The Second Book 


lievG that their own faith is good, and secure, 
and sufficient for their salvation. And in That 
belief they do as it seems many good deods of 
justice and righlcousntss, and peradvenlure if 
they knew that ihe Christian faith were better 
than their own, they would leave their own and 
take it ; and therefore they shall be saved. But 
1 say this is not enough, for Christ, God and 
man. is hoLh the way and the end. And He is 
the mediator betwixt God and man, and without 
Him can ro soul be reconciled, nor come to the 
bliss of Heaven, and therefore they that believe 
not in Him who i^ both God and roan, can never 
he saved nor come to bliss. 

Other men also, that love not Christ, nor His 
Passion, are not reformed in their souls to His 
likeness, and these are false Christians, which 
are out of grace and charity, and live and die 
in deadly sin. These men know well, as it 
secmeth, that Jesus is God's Son, and that His 
pasMon siifficeth to the salvation of man's soul; 
and they believe also the other articles of faith. 
But it is an unshapen and dfrad faith, for Ihey 
love Him not, nor choose the fruit of His passion, 
but lie still in their sins, and in the false love of 
this world, unto their last end; and so they be 
not reformed to the likeness of God, but go to 
the pains of Hell endlessly, as Jews and Turks 
do, and into much more and greater pains than 
they, inasmuch as ihey had the truth and kept it 
not ; for that makes their sin greater than if they 
had never known it. 

If then thou wilt know what souls are reformed 
here in this life to the image of God through the 
virtue of His Passion ; verily, only tliose that be- 
lieve in Him and love Him; in which souls, the 
image of God ih^t was misshapen through ^n, as 


The Scak of Perfection 

it were, into a foul beast's likeness, is restored 
and reformed to its first shape, and to the worthi- 
ness and worship that ic had in the beginning; 
without which restoring" and reforming' never 
shall any soul be saved nor come to bliss. 


Of two Manners of reforminE; cf this Ima^'f d' i° 
fulness, anoeher in p^t 

Now thou wilt say ; How can this be, that the 
image of God, which is mans soul, should be 
reformed here in this life to His likeness in any 
creature? Whereas the contrary seemeth tnie, 
nay, it seems that il cannot possibly be so i For 
if it were reformed, then should it have a stable 
memorj', a clear sifihl or understanding, a clear 
burning love to God and spiritual thing's ever- 
lastingly, as it had in the beginning. But these 
hath no creature living here in this life, as thou 
perceivest; for as for thyself, thou canst truly 
say, that thou art far from it. Thy memory, thy 
reason, and thy love of thy soul, are so much set 
upon the beholding and loving of earthly things, 
that of spiritual things thou feelest right little. 
Thou feelesi no reforming in thyself, but art so 
wrapped about with this black image of sin. for 
all that thou canst do, that upon what side so- 
e\'er thou turnest, thou feelest thyself defiled and 
spotted with fleshly stirrings of this foul image ; 
and other changings thou feelest none, fresh 
fleahlmcss into spiriiualness, neither in the in- 
ward faculties of thy sou) within, nor in bodily 
feelings or thy senses without. Wherefore it 
seems to thee that it cannot be that this image 
should be so reformed- 

The Second Book 


Thou askest, therefore, how it can be r^fformed? 
To this I answer^ and say thus : There be two 
manners of reforming of the imag-e of God which 
is man's soul, whereof one is in fulness, another is 
in part. Reforming in fulness cannot be had in 
this life, but is deterred till after, to the bliss 
of Heaven, where man's soul shall fully be re- 
formed ; not to that state that it had at the first 
by nature, or might have had through grace if 
it had stood whole; but it shall be restored to 
much more bliss, and much higher joy through 
the great mercy and the endless gooJness of 
God, than it should have had if it had never 
fallen. For then shall the soul receive the whole 
arid the full feeling of God in all its faculties, 
without any other love or affection to anything 
el*ie interposing ici^elf- And it shall see man- 
kind in the person of jesus exalted above the 
kind or nature of Angeis, united to the GoJhead, 
for then shall Jesus, both God and man, be all in 
all, and only He, and none other but He, as the 
Prophet saith : Our I^ord (Jesus} in thai day shaK js^iai \\. 
ic exalted mtly. And also the body of man shali 
then be glorified, for it shall receive fully the rich 
dowry of immortaHty, with all that belongeth 
thereto. Tliis shall a soul have with the body, 
and much more than I can say; but that shall 
be the bliss of Heaven^ but not in this life. For 
though it be so that the Passion of our Lord be 
the cause of all this fijll reforming of man's 
soul; nevertheless it was not His will to grant 
it straightways after passion, to all chosen souls 
that were living at the time of His Passion, bui 
He delayed it unto the last day, and that for this 
reason ; Manifest it is that our Lord Jesus Christ 
of His mercy bath ordained a certain number of 
^ouls to salvation, which number was not fulfilled 



The Scale of Perfection 


in the time of His Passion, and therefore it need- 
ed that by length of time throuffli natural genera- 
tion of men that number should be up; then 
if it had so been, that so soon as after the death 
of our Lord, every soul that would have believed 
in Him should have been blessed and fully re- 
formed by His life, without any further delay, 
there would no creature that lived then have 
been that would not have received the Faith for 
to have been made blessed, and then should 
generation have ceased. And so shouJd we 
that are now chosen souls living, and other 
souls that come after us, not have been bom, and 
so should our Lord have failed of Hia number 
But that might not be, and therefore our Lord 
provided much better for us, in that He delayed 
the full reforming of man's soul till the last end, 
as St Paul satih ; Gcd providing better for us, that 
they should fwi be consummate wUhout i£s. That Is, 
our Lord providing better for us in the delaying 
of our reforming, than if He had granted it then, 
for this reastin, that the chosen souls should not 
make a full end without us that come after. 

Another reason is this : Since that man in hia 
first creation was set in his free will, and had free 
choice whether he would have God fully or no, it 
was therefore reasonable that since he would not 
choose Grod then, but wretchedly fell from Him, 
if he should afterwards be reformed, that he should 
be set ag'ain in the same free choosing that he 
was first in, as whether he would become re- 
formed or no. And this may be also a cause why 
man's soul was not fully relonned speedily upon 
the Passion of Jesus Christ. 


The Second Book 



That Reforming in part is in two manners, one la 
Faich, another in Feeling 

Another reforming of this image is in part, and 
this may he had in this life^ and if it be not had 
in this life, it will never be had, nor the soul ever 
come to be saved. 

Bui this reforming is on two manners; one 
is in Fai(h only, another is in Fatth and in Feel- 
ing. The ^irsi suflicelh to salvation, the second 
is worthy to have passing- great reward in the 
bliss of Heaven. The first may be had easily 
and in short time, the second not so, but through 
length of time and much spiritual pains. The 
first may be had, and yei ihe man may have to- 
gether with it the siirrings and feelings of the 
image of sin- For though a man feel nothing in 
himself but all stirrings of sin and fleshly desires, 
notwithstanding those feelings, if he do not volun- 
tarily assent thereto, he may be and remain re- 
formed in Fatik lo the likeness of God. 

But the second putteth out the liking in. and 
delight felt in sensual motions and worldly de- 
sirCvS, and suffereth no such spots to abide in this 
image. The first is only of beginning and profit- 
ing souls, and of active men. The second is of 
perfpct souls, and of contemplative men. For by 
the first reforming the image of sin is not de- 
stroyed, but it is left, as it were, all whole in feel- 
ing. But the second destroyelh the old feelings 
of this image of sin, and bnngeih into the soul 
new gracious feelings, through the workings of 
the Holy Ghost. The first is good, the second 
is better; but the third, that is Jn the bliss ol 


The Scale of Perfection 

Heav&tij is best of all. First let us speak of that 
one, and then of Ih^t other, and so we ahall come 
to the third. 


That ihrough the Sacrament of Baptism (which is 
grcunded i;i the PaAsiofi ot Christ) thb Image is 
reformed from Original Sin 

Two manner of sins make the soul to lose xhe. 
image and likeness of God. The one is cafird 
Original, that is the first sin ; the other is Actual, 
that is committed by our own will. Thet-e two 
sins put away a soul from the bliss of Heaven, 
and damn it to the endless pains of hell ; unless, 
through the grace of God, it be reformed to His 
likeness, before it pass hence out of this life. 
Nevertheless, two remedies are there agairst 
these two sins, by the which a niisshapen soul 
may be restored ag-ain. One is the Sacrament 
of Baptism against original sin, another is the 
Sacrament of Penance against actual sin. A soul 
of a child that is bom, as is not christened, by 
reason of original sin, hath no likeness f>f God; 
he is noug:ht but an image of the fiend, atid a 
brand of hHl ; but as soon as it is christened, it 
is raformod lo the ima^e of God, and through 
the virtue of the faith of holy Church is suddenly 
turned from the likeness of the fiend, and made 
like an An^^el of Heaven. Also the same falleth 
to a yew or to a Turk^ the which before ihey be 
christened, are nou^'ht but bondslaves of hell \ 
but when they forsake their error, and fall hum- 
bly to the truth in Christ, and receive th^ baptism 
of water in the Holy Ghost, surely without any 
further tarrying ihey are reformed to the likeness 

The Second Book 


of God, 50 fully that the holy Church helieveth 
that if presently after baptism they should happen 
to die, they should straight fiy up to Heaven with- 
out any more letting, though they had before in 
the lime of theirurbelief committed never so many 
or so great sins : nor should they ever feel the 
pains of heL nor of purgatory, and that priviJege 
should they have by the merit of Christ's Passion. 


TKaI through the Sacrament of Penance (that consis' 
teth in Contrition, Confession and Saiisfaciion) 
thu Imoffc is reformed from Actu^ Sia 

Moreover, Christian men or women that have 
lost the likeness of God through a deadly sin in 
breaking God's commandments, if he through 
the touching of grace in his heart doth truly 
forsake his sin, with sorrow and contrition of 
heart, and be in full purpose to amend and turn 
to a good lifei and in this foresaid purpose and 
will receiveth the Sacrament of Penance, if he 
may come by it^ or if he cannot have a will and 
desire to come by it, surely, I say^ that this man 
or woman's soul, that was before misshapen to 
the likeness of the devil through deadly sin, is 
now by the Sacrament of Penance restored and 
shapen again to the image of our Lord God, 

This is a great courtesy of our Lord, and 
an endiess mercy, who so lightly forgiveth all 
manner of sin, and so suddenly giveth plenty of 
grace to a sinftil soul that askeih mercy of Him. 
He requireth not great doing of Penance, nor 
painful suffering in the fiesh, before He forgiveth 
It, But He requireth a loathing of sin, and a 
full forsaldng in the will for love of Him, and 


a turning of the heart to Him. This He asketh, 
for this He giveih. And then when He seeth 
this, without any further delay He forgiveth the 
sin, and reformeth the soul to His likeness. The 
sin is forgiven^ that the soul shall rot be damn- 
ed ; nevertheless, the pain due to the sin is not 
yet ftiily lorgiven, unless that the contrition and 
love be the greater. And therefore shall he go 
and ihow himself, and make his confession to his 
ghostly Father, and receive the penance which 
he enjoineth him for his trespass, and perform it 
gladly, so that both the sin and the punishment 
may be done awiiy before he pass hence. 
Wfrv CrfH- And this is liie wii^e ordinance of holy Church, 
/rum- is to the great benefit of man's soul, that though 
'*^""'"'J'- the sin be forgiven through the virtue of contri- 
tion, nevertht:lesa for the exercise of humility, 
and for to make entire satisfaction, he shall (if 
he have means for it} show to his priest a pien-' 
ary confession ; for that is his token and warrant 
against alt his enemies, of the forgiveness of hi» 
ftins ; and such a token or warrant will it be need- 
ful for him to have. Just as if a man had for- 
it^ited his life against a king on earth, it were not 
enough for him (as to his full security and dis- 
chargej to have only forgiveness of the king, 
unless he have a charter from him. which may 
be his token and warrant against all other men. 
Kight so m^y it be said spirimally, if a man 
through deadly sin have forfeited his life against 
the King of Heaven, it is not enough for him as 
lo his full security) to have forgiveness of God 
only by contrition between God and him, unless 
he have a charter also made by holy Church (if 
he may come by it), and this is the Sacrament 
of Penance, which is his charter and token of 
forgiveness. For siih it was so, that he had 

The Second Book 


offended and forfeited both ag^ainst God and His 
Church, it is skilful that he have forgiveness 
from that one^ and a warrant from thai other. 
And this is one cause why Confession is needful. 
Another reason is this; That since this re- 
fonnirg' of a souJ standeth in Faith only, and 
not in Feeling' (tor the forgiveness is only be- 
lieved and not feltj therefore a fleshly or sensual 
man. that is at first gross and rude in under- 
standing, and cannot easily judge and conceive, 
but only outward bodily thiiigs, would not easily 
have believed thai his sins had been forgiven 
him, if he had not received some outward or 
bodily token of it, and that is Confession, through 
the which token he is made sectire of forgiveness 
if he do his part and duty in the business. This 
is the belief of holy Church, as I understand it- 
Another reason is this: Though the ground of 
forgiveness stand not principally in Confession, 
but in contrition of the heart, and in detestation 
or forethinking of sin ; nevertheless, I believe 
that there i& many a soul that would never have 
felt true contrition, nor had arrived at forsaking 
of sin, if Confession had not been ; for it fallelh 
out oftentimes, that in the time of Confession, 
grace of compunction comelh to a aoul that be- 
fore never fell grace, but ever was cold and dry, 
and farther off from feeling of grace< And there- 
fore silh Cnnfession wa^ so profitable to the more 
party of Christian men, hoiy Church ordained, 
for the more security generally to all Christian 
men, that every man and woman should once in 
the year, at the least, confess all their sins to 
their ghostly Father, that come to their mind, 
though they had never so much contrition bef-^re 
time. NeverthelfSft. I hojae well, that if all men 
bad been as careful about the keeping of ihem- 


The Scale ol Perfection 

selves and esdiewing- of all manner of sin ; and 
had arrived at as greal knowledge and feeling of 
God as some men have, holy Church would not 
have ordained the aaid token of Confession as an 
obligation, for it had not been needful. But be- 
cause all men are not so perfect, and peradventure 
much or the greater part of Christians are imper- 
fect, therefore holy Church ordained Confession 
by way of general obligation, to all Christians 
that will acknowledge holy Church as their Mo- 
ther, and will be obedient to her laws. 

If this be true, as I hope it is, then erreth he 
greatly that generally saith that Confession of 
sins to the priest is neither necessary nor pro- 
fitable, and that no man is bound thereto ; for by 
that which I have said, it is both necessary and 
profitable lo all those souls who in this wretched 
life are defiled with sin, and namely to those who 
through deadly sin are misshapen from ihe like- 
ness of Godj who cannot be reformed to His like- 
ness but by the Sacrament of Penance which 
principally standeth in contrition and sorrow of 
heart, and .secondarily in confession of moutli 
foliowing- after it if it may be had. And thus 
through this Sacrament of Penance is a sinful 
soul reformed to the image and likeness of God- 
But this reforming standeth in Fatth and not 
in Feeling. For right as Fatth's propertv is to 
believe that which thou seest not, so also is it to 
believe that which thou feelest not. For he that 
is reformed in his soul by the Sacrament of Pe- 
nance to the image of God, feeleth not any change 
in himself, neither in his external corporal nature, 
nor within in the substance of his soul, other than 
he did bpfore. For as to his feeling-, he is as he 
was, and feeleth the same stirrings of sin, and the 
^ame corruption of his ilesh in hja passions and 

The Second Book 


worldly risings in his heart, as he did before- Yet 
he ought lo believe that throug"h grace he ia re- 
formed to the image of God, though he neither 
feel it nor see it» He may easily feel in himaeif 
a sorrow for his sins, and a turning of his will 
from sin to cleanness of living-, if he have grace 
and take good heed of himself. But he can 
neither see nor feel the reforming of his soul, 
how it is wonderfully and unperctivably changed 
from the foulness of the fiend unto the fairness 
jf an Angel, through a secret gracious working 
of the Holy Ghost. This cannot he see but only 
believe it ; and if he bolievo it, then is his soul 
reformed in truth. For right as Holy Church 
believeih, a Jew or Samcen^ or a child, by the 
Sacrament of Baptism duly administered, to be 
reformed in soul 10 the image of God, through 
a secret unperceivable working of the Holy Ghcs£t 
notwithstanding all the fleshly stirrings of his 
body of sin^ which he foeleth, after his Baptism 
as well as before; right so, by the Sacrament of 
Penance humbly and truly received, a bad Chris- 
tian who hath been encumbered with deadly sin 
all his lifetime, is reformed within in his soul, 
unpf^rceivably, saving that he finds a turning of 
his will to God through a secret power, and a 
gracious working of the H&iy Ghi^siy which sud- 
denly workethj and in a moment or the twink- 
ling of an eye, setteth right a froward soul, and 
tumeth it from a spiritual foulness to an in- 
visible fairness, and maketh her, of a servant 
of the fiend, a son of joy ; and of a prisoner of 
helli an inheritor of Heaven, notwithstanding 
all the fleshly feelings of this sinful image, that 
is the corporal nature. 

For ihou must know, that the Sacrament of 
Baptism or of Penance, is not of that virtue to 


The Scale of Perfection 

Tht Sacra- 
rnenii vf Btt/'- 
tistti uiixi of 
Pittance do 
suayanti taiif 
away t/ie mo- 
tions of thr 

I^vm. vli'i, 

hinder and destroy utterly all the stirrings of 
fleshly lusts and of inordinate passions, that 
the soul should never feel any rismga nor stir- 
rings of them at any time; for if it were so, 
then were a soul fully reformed here to the 
dig^nity it had at lis first creation. But that 
cannot be fully in this life. But it is of that 
virtue, that it cleanseth tlie soul from all sins 
before done; and if she, being in that case, 
chance to die, it saveth htr from damnation ; 
or if it continue in the body, it g-iveth her grace 
to withstand the stirrin^a of sin, or of the 
passions of the flesh, so tiial be they never so 
grievous^ they shall not hurt her, nor separate 
her from God, as longf as she doth not willingly 
consent thereto. So meant St Paul when he 
said thus -.—There ts no ecndcmnation to them that 
walk not after (hejiesh. That is, those souls that 
are reformed to the ima^e of God by Faiths 
through the Sacrament of Baptism or of Pe- 
nance, shall not be damned for the feeling of 
this imag-e of sin, if so be that they go not after 
the motions of sensuality by deed doing. 


That we are to believe stcidfastly the reFormin; cF 
Lhis Imtige, if our Ci^nscieiicc wilneas to us a full 
forsiting of Sin, and a true turning of our Will 
10 good living 

Of this reforming In Faith speaketli Si Paul in 
J/i'f, It, these words i Tin Just man livdh by Fatth. That 
is, he that is made righteous by Baptism or Pe- 
nance, he liveth by Foitit, which sufficeth to sal- 
vation, and also to heiivenly peace, as St Paul 
sailh: Being Justified &y Faith^ w£ Iirtve peace 

The Second Book 


with Gad, Tliat is, we that are made righteous 
and reformed through Fatih in Christy have 
peace and accord made betwixt God and us, 
notwithslandirg the vicious motions of our body 
of sin. For thouj^h this reforming be secrtl, 
and cannot well be felt here in this life, never- 
theless whoso stedfastly believeth it, and is care- 
ul to shape his life accordingly, and turns not 
again la deadly sin, surely when the hour of 
death Cometh, and the soul is departed, then 
shall he find that true which I say now. S£ John 
in comfort of chosen souls that live here in Faith 
under the feeling of this painful imag'e, saiih 
thus ; Littie childmi^ fW7v ari? we ttte sons of God, 1 A^" 
and ii app€areih not wliai we shall he ; but we hnaoj 
thai-mhcii Christ shall ap^EQT, wt shall also appfur 
like Him- in glory^ That is, we are now, whilst 
we live here, the sons of God, for we are reformed 
by J^aith in Christ to His likeness, but it appear- 
eth not plainly what we are, but it is kept secret. 
Nevertheless, we know well, that when our Lord 
shall appear at the last day, then shall we appear 
with Him, like to Him in glory. 

If then^ thou wouldst know if thy soul be re- 
formed to the Image of God or no, thou mayeht 
be resolved by that which I have said, ransack ^o^/ *e'rfl 
thy conscience and look what thy will is, for /ur*«£ 
therein consisteth the whole business. If it be 
turned from all manner of deadly sin, so that 
thou wouldst not for all the world wittingly and 
wilfully break the commandments of God ; and 
for what thou hast done amiss heretofore con- 
trary to His bidding, hast humbly made thy 
confession, with full intent to leave it, and art 
sorry that thou didst it ; I say then, surely that 
thy soul is reformed in FtiitA to the likeness 
uf God, 

w.i*' /i'i'! out 
"SL'Udhfr flit 


The Scale of Perfection 


TliAt all the Souls tliat live humbly in tlie Failli of 
Holy Church, and hiv* theip Faith enlivened wirh 
Lots and Charily^ be reformed by this Sacrament, 
ihougli it be ao ihat ihcv caiinot feel llic special 
ffift of Devotion or of spiritiial leelins 

In this reforming', which is only in Faith, the 
most part of chosen souls lead their lives, setting- 
their wills Btedfastly to flee all manner of deadly 
sin, and keeping themselves in love and charity 
lo their neighbour, and keeping- the command- 
ments of God according to their knowledge. 
And when it is so that wicked stirrings and evU 
desires of pride* envy, wrath or luxury, or of any 
other capital sin rise in their hearts, they resist 
and strive against them, by being- displeased ac 
them in their will, so that they follow not those 
wicked motions in their lieeds; and if through 
frailty they fall, as it were atjainst their will, and 
through ignorance, Iheir conscience soon after 
so ^eveth and paineth them for it, that they 
can lake no rest till they have made their con- 
fession, and had absolution for it. 

Surtly all these souls that thus live in this 
state of reforming, ani be found therein at the 
hour of their death, shall be saved, and shall 
come to a full reforming in the bliss of Heaven 
though it were so, that they never had spiritual 
feeling, nor inward taste of devotion, tior any 
special gift of grace of sweetness or comfort in 
all their lifetime. For if thou shouldst say, 
that no -soul shall be saved, unless she were here 
reformed in spiritual feeling", so that she hath felt 
devotion and spinlual sweetnej^s in God, as some 

The Second Book 


souls through special ^ace have done; then 
should "very few souls be saved, ia comparison 
of the muUitude of the oihen 

Nay, it is not so to be supposed, that only for 
the souls that have had such extraordinary de- 
votion, or have throu^-'h great grace come to a 
spiritual feeling, and for no more, our Lord Jesus 
should have taken upon Hiro the nature of man, 
and suffered the bitcer passion of His death. It 
had been such a small purchase for Him to have 
come from so far to so near, and trom so high to so 
IoWt for so few souls ; no, His mercy is spread 
larger than so> But on the contrarj-, if thou 
imaginest the Passion of our Lord lo be so 
precious, and His mercy so great, that there 
shall no soul be damned, and namelv, no 
Christian, do he never so wickedly, as some 
fools do imagine, surely thou errest greally. 

Go, therefore, in the middle way, and hold 
thee there, and believe a5 holy Church beJiev- 
eth, and that is, that the most sinful man that 
liveth on earth, if through grace he turn his 
will from deadly sin by true repentance to the 
service of God, ho is reformed in his soul, and 
if he die in this state, he shall be saved. Thus 
hath our Lord promised by His Prcphe!, saying: 
At what tintc soever a stnner shali he convcrhdt 
and sorry for his stnSj he shall itve, and no! die. 

And on the other side, whoso hveth in deadly 
sin, and wiU not leave it, nor amend him thereof, 
nor receive the Sacrament of Penance, or else 
if be receive it, lakelh it not truly, for the love 
of God (that is^ for the love of virtue and clean- 
ness, but only for dread or shame of the world, 
or only for fear of the pains of hell), he is not 
reformed to the image of God, and if he die 
m that stale, he shall not be saved, bis Paifh 


The Scale of Perfection 

shall not save him, for it is but a dead falthj 
because it lacketli love, and thcnsbre it will 
noi serve his lurn. But they that have Fatih 
quickened with love and charity, though il be 
but the least degree of chanty, as are simple 
souls who feel not the gift of special devotion, 
nor ha^e spiritual knowledge or feeling of God, 
as some spiritual men have, but beli'*ve in 
general as holy Church believeth, though they 
know "ot fully what that i;; (for it is not neces- 
sary tiiat they should know so tully), but in that 
belief keep ihemseU'es in lo^e and charitj^ to 
their neighbour as well as they can, and eschew 
all deadly sin according to their best skill, and 
do deeds of mercy to their neighbours ; all these 
belong to the bliss of Heaven, tor thus is it 
written in the Apocalypse \ Ye that fear Gad^ h^Ut 
great afid smtiHy praisA Him. By gre^tt ones are 
understood souls that are profiting in grace, or 
that are perfect in the love of God, which are 
reformed in spiritual feeling. By smali^ imper- 
fect souls of worldly men and women, and ethers 
that have but a childish knowledge of God, and 
full little feeling of Him, bui are brought forih in 
the bosom of holy Church, and nourished with 
the Sacraments, as children are fed with miik. 
All these ought to love God, and thank Him for 
the salvation of their souls, which proceedeth 
from His endless mercy and goodness- For 
holy Church, which is mother of all these, and 
beareth tender love to all her gho&lly children, 
prayeth and asketh for them all tenderly of her 
Spouse, that is of Jesus, and getteth Ihcm health 
of soul through virtue of His Passion ; and 
namely for them that cannot speak for them- 
selves by spiritual prayer for their need. 

Thus I tind jn the Gospel that the woman 

The Second Book 


of Canaan asked of our Lord health for her 
daughter that was troubled with the fiend; 
and our I-ord at first made dainty of the 
matter, because she was an alien. Neverthe- 
less she ceased not to cry till our Lord had 
granted her asking, and said to her thus: O 
•wo^man, great is thy faith, be it unto thtc as thou 
Tuilt. In the same hour Toas her daughiir mads 
whoU^ This woman betokeneth holy Church, 
that asketh help of our Lord for simple igno- 
rant souls, that are encumbered with tempta- 
tions of the world, and cannot speak perfectly 
to God by fervour of devotion^ hot by burning 
love in Conkmptaiimt. And though our Lord 
seemeth to make dainty at first, because they 
are, as it were, aliened from Him, nevertheless, 
for the great faith and desert of holy Cliurcb, 
He granted to her all that she wilh And ior 
these simple souls that believe stedfaslly as 
holy Church believeth, and put themselves 
wholly upon the mercy of God, and submit 
themselves under the Sacraments and Laws of 
holy Church, are saved through the prayers 
and faith of their holy Mother the Church, 


That Soub reformed need ever I0 fight and strive 
agdirs[ the Motions of Sin while they live here. 
And how a Soul may know when she assfnufh 
to theae Motions, and when not 

This reforming in Faiih is easily gottenj but it is 
not so easily held. And, therefore^ that man or 
woman that is reformed to the likeness of God in 
/tfiM, must use much labour and diligence, if 
they win keep this image whole and clean, that 


The Scale of Perfection 

it fait not down again through weakness of will 
to the imag-e of sin. He may not be idle or care ■ 
less; for the image of sin is so near fastened 
unto him, and so coniinually presseth upon him 
by divers stirrings of sin, that unless he be very 
wary, he shall very easily through consent fall 
agam thereto. And, therefore, he needeth to be 
ever striving and fighting against the wicked 
Blirringof this image of sin, and that he make no 
accord with them, nor have friendship with them, 
to be pliable to their unlawful biddings, for in so 
doing he beguilelh himself. But veniy if he 
strive with them, he need not he much afraid of 
consenting: for striving breaketh peace and false 
accord. It ii good indeed that a man have peace 
with all thinj^'s, save with the fiend and this 
image of sin» for agaiii-'^t them ought he ever to 
fight In his thoughts and in his deeds, till he hath 
gotten the mastery, which will never be fully in 
this life, as long as he beareth and feeleth this 
image, I say not but that a soul maj', through 
grace, have the upper hand of this image, so far 
that he will not follow nor assent to the inordinaie 
motions of it. but to be clean delivered from it, so 
that he shall feel no suggestions nor jangling of 
fleshly affections or of vain thoughts at any time^ 
that can no man come to in this life. 

I trow that a soul that is reformed in feeling, 
by ravishing of love in contemplation of God, 
may be far from the sensualitj' and from vain 
imaginations, and so far drawn out and parted 
from the fleshly motion*; for a time, that she shall 
feel nothing but God ; but such a case lasteth not 
always. And, therefore, I say, that every man 
ought to strive against this imape of sin, and 
namely he that is reformed in faith only, who 




The Second Book 


person of which men St Paul saith ; The /iesh Cal v, 
lustcth against ihc spirit, and the spirit against Ike 
fksh. That is, a soul reformed to the liiceness of 
God hghteth against the sensual motions of the 
image of sin, and also this image of sin. fighteth 
against the will of the spirit. 

TTiis Iciiid of fighting between these two 
several images St Paul knew and felt, when he 
said thus ; / find a ttrur in my numbers fighting ^f'^. vli, 
iigaifist (he law of fny mivd, and lending me captive 
to the law fff s%n. By these Iwo laws in a soul 
I understand this double image: by the law of 
the spirit I understand the reason of the soul, 
when it is reformed to the image of fiod ; by the 
law of the flesh I understand the sensuality, 
which I call the image of sin- in two 3aws 
a soul reformed leads his life ; as St Paul saith in 
these words: iViih my mind I serve ttu iaw 0/ 
God, hul tPith theflish the lam of sin. 

Nevertheless, that a soul reformed should not 
despair though she ser/e the law of sin by feeling 
of the vicious sensuality against the wiU of the 
spirit, because of the corruption of corporal 
nature. Si Paul excuseth lE^ saying thus of his 
own person : For *tot that good thai I woutd^ do /, 
hut t?ie evil that I hate t^mt I do : but if I do the 
evil that I hale, it is not I thut loorkafh it^ hut sin 
that dwilkth in ute. That is, 1 would feel no 
fleshly stirrings, but that do I noi> but the sinful 
stirringfs of my flesh 1 hate, and yet I feel them, 
Nevenheless, since it is so that I have the wicked 
stirrings of my flesh, and yet I feei them and oft 
delight in them against my will, they shall not 
be laid to my charge to my condemnation, as if 
I had done them. And why^ For the corrup- 
tion of this image of sin doth them, and not L 

Lo St Paul in his own person comforteth all 


The Scale of Perfection 

rings ofstH 
ftfch fibt 

souls that tlirough grace are reformed in Failh, 
thai they should not too much dread the burthen 
of this image with the inordinate motions thereof^ 
if it be so that they do not \inlling]y ami deliber- 
ately yield thereto. Yet in this point, many 
souls that are reformed in truth, are ofttinies 
much tormented and troubled in vain, as thus r 
When they have felt fleshly motion of pride, or of 
Gn\-y^ of covetousness or luxury, or of any other 
chief sin, they knowr not whether they consent 
thereto or no, and it is no gjeat wonder ; for in 
time of tomptation frail man's thoughts are so 
troubled and so overlaid that he hath no clear 
sight nor freedom of himself, but is overtaken 
often with liking unvvanly, and so that liking 
passeth perhaps a good while withm him ere he 
will perceive it, and, therefore, falleth sometime 
in doubt and dread whether they sinned in time 
of Itmptation or no. 

As to this point I say, as melhinketh, that a 
soul may discern by this means whether he con- 
sent or no. If it be so that he is moved or 
tempted to any kind of sin, and the liking of it is 
so great in his fleshly feeling that it troublelh his 
reason J an J, as it were, with mastery possesseth 
the affection of his soul, and yet he restraineth 
hiTnsdr> that he performeth not the sin in deed, 
nay, nor would not if he mighty but is rather 
pained to feel the liking of that sin, and fain 
would put it away if he could; and when that 
stirring is over, is glad and well repaid that he is 
delivered from it; by this may he gather, that 
were the liking never so great in his fleshly 
Feeling, yet he consejited nor sinned, not especially 
mortally in the business. 

Nevertheless, a good and secure remedy it 



nnd cannot help it, that they be not too bold ia 
them.selvp.s, utterly weening that such fleshly Anii rtt not 
stirrings with liking are no sms at all, for so they i"^!'''^ 
may fall into carelessness and a false security. '^^ 
Neither on the other side that they be too fearful^ 
or foolish, as to deem them all as deadly sins, or 
as great venials ; for neither is true, but that he 
hold them all as sins and wretchedness, and that 
he have sorrow for them, and be not too busy in 
judging them eitlier deadly or venial. But if his 
conscience be greatly grieved, that he g-o speedily, 
and show to his Confessor in general or in special 
such stirrings, and, namely, every stirring that 
beginneth to fasten any root in the heart, and 
most possesseth it, for to draw it down to sin and 
worldly vanity. And when he bath thus con- 
fessed in general or in particular, let him assur- 
edly believe that they be forgiven, and dispute 
no more about them that are passed and for- 
given, whether they were mortal or venial. But 
let him be the more careful to cany himself 
better against such as shall afterwards arise. 
And if be do so^ then may he come to have quiet 
in his conscience. Bui some are so unwise and 
BO gross ihat they would feel or see, or hear the 
forgiveness of their sins, as clearly ami palpably 
as they might sec or feel a bodily thing; and 
because they cannot, therefore they fall oft into 
such fears and doubts of themselves, and never 
come to rest; and in that they are unwise, for 
Faith goeth before feeling. 

Our Lord^ when He healed a man sick of the 
palsy, said thus to blm ■ Tritsf fmy son) t/tfii £hy 
srus ate fcrgimn tlue; that is, believe stcdfastly. 
He :^aid not to him. See, feel, how that thy sins 
are forgiven (for the forgiveness of sins is done 
spiritually and invisibly, through the grace of 


The Scale of Perfection 

the Holy Ghost) but helium it. On the same 
manner, every one that desireth to have peace of 
conscience, it behoveth him (having iJone what 
lay in his power) to believe without spiritual 
feeling and forgiveness of his sins. And if at 
first he believe it, he shall afterward, through 
grace, feel it and understand it that it is so. 
Thus said the ApoatU : Unless ye beliei^e, ye shall 
nof understand. Faith goeth hiefore, and under- 
standing Cometh after, and this understanding 
(which I call Che light of grace that cometh from 
God] a soul cannot have but through great clean- 
SiMflf.w "^s, as our Lord saith r BUssed are the pure in 
heart-, far th^y shall sea Ged, Not with their 
fleshly eye, but their inward eye, that is, their 
understanding, cleaned and enlightened through 
grace of the Holy Ghost» to see the truth ; the 
which cleanness a soul cannot feel, unle&s she 
have firm faith and belief going before, as the 
Apostle saith f By faith^ purifying the heart; 
that is, our Lord through faith cleanseth the 
hearts ofHii chosen. It is necessary, therefore, 
that a soul first believe in the reforming of him- 
self made through the Sacrament of Penance, 
though she see it not ; and that he dispose him- 
self fiiUy to live righteously and \'irtaou£ly, as 
his Faith requireth ; so that afterward he nay 
come to stghlt and to the reforming in feeling. 


Thai this Image is both fair aad foul whilst it is in 
this Life here, though it be reformed i and o£ the 
Differences of the secret Feelings of those [hat be 
reformed and these that be not 

Fair is a man's soul, and foul is a man's soul. 
Fair, inasmuch as it is reformed in faith to the 

The Second Book 


likeness of God. But foul, inosmucli aa it is 
mingled with sensual feelings and inordinate 
motions of this image of siun Foul it is without, 
like a beast; fair within, like an Angel. Fou.1 in 
the feeling- of sensuality, fair in truth of reason- 
Foul for the fleshly appetites, fair for the good 
will. Thus is a chosen soul both fair and foul, 
according to the aaying of Holy Writ; / am 
bltukj but btfaniifulj O dou^fU^s of ycrus'ilem, as Canf, U 
/A^ tcnis of Kcdar^ and as me curiaitts of Salomon. 
That is, O ye Angels of Heaven, that are 
daughters of the high Jsrusalem., wonder not at 
me, nor despise me for my black shadow. For 
thouf^h I be black without, because of my fleshly 
nature, as the tents of Kedar^ yet am I full fair 
within, aa the curtains of Saiamim, in that I am 
reformed to the image of God, By Kedttr is 
understood a reprobate soul, which is the tent of 
the deviL By Sohm&n is understood our Lord 
Je5U5^ for He is peace, or peaceable. By the 
curtain of Solomon is understood a blessed Angel, 
in whom our Lord dweUcth, and is hid in him. 

Now may a chosen soul with humble trust in 
God, and joy of heart, say thus : Though I be 
black, because of my body of hln, like a reprobate 
soul, that is one of the tabernacles of the fiend; 
yet within am I fair fthrough faith and good will) 
like an Angel of Heaven. For so saiih he in 
another place: L^k net upon me, bccaitse that I am Otnl. L 
blacky for thai iht sun hath altittd -my colmir. The 
sun maketh a skin swarth only without and not 
within ; and it betokeneth this fleshly life. There- 
fore thus saith die chosen soul: Rebuke me not 
because I am swarth, for the swartness I have 
is all without, by the touching nnd carrying 
aboiit me this image of sin; but it is nothing 
within. And, thereiorej sooLhJy though it be &o 



The Scale of Perfection 


that s. chosen soul, reformed in faith> dwell in 
this body of sin, atid feel the same fleshly stir- 
ringfs, and uae the same bodily works, as doth 
a labernacle of Kedar so forth that in man's 
judgement there be no difference betwixt the one 
and ihe other, yet wiihio in their souls^ and in 
the sight of God there is a full great difference,' 
But to know tills, which is the OLie, and which is 
th% other^ is only kept to God ; for it passeth 
man's judgement and man's feeling. And. there^ 
fore, we ought not to judgre any man evil, for that 
thing that may be used both evil and wc]L 
HimUdh- A soul that is not reformed is so fully taken 
_ f^'^-^^f^ up with the love of the world, and so much over- 
mothns a/ i^-id With the liking of his flesh in all his seiiiu- 
iiis/infAe ality, that he chooseth it as a full rest of his 
"{^^J!^j heart, and in the secret desires thereof nothing 
else would he have, but only tliat he miyht ever 
be sure thereof; he feeleth within him no liquor 
of grace, moving him to loathe his fleshly lif*?, 
nor to desire Hea\'cn or bliss. And, therefore, 
we may say tliat he bearhth not this imago of 
sin^ but is borne of it ; like a man that is sick 
and so weak that he cannot bear himself, and, 
therefore, is laid on a bed, and borne in a litter. 
Right 3o» such a sinful soul is 50 weak and impo- 
tent, for lack of grace, that he can neither move 
hand nor loot to do any good deed, nor to resist 
(by displeasing of wl]}J the least motion of sin, 
when it cometh, but falls down thereto, just like 
B beast upon carrion, IJut a soul that is re- 
formed, though he use his fleshly senses and feel 
fleshly stirrings, yet he loatheth them in his 
heart, for he would not for any good rest in Ihem 
fully, but lleeth any such rest in them, as the 
biting of an adder, and had rather have his rest 
and the love of his heart in God^ if he could ; and 


The Second Book 


sometimes actually aspireth thereto, ant] often 
gniclgcth at ihe fleeing of the pleasures of ihis 
life, tor love of the life everlasting'. This soul is 
not borne by this image of sin, like a sick man, 
thou^'h be feel it ; but he beareth it, for throuffH 
grace he is made mighty and strong to auffer 
and bear his body, with all the evil stirrings of it, 
witliout hurling or defiling himself, inasmuch as 
he loveth tlieni not, nor follovveth them, nor con- 
senteLh to deadly sins, as another doth. 

This was bodily fulfilled in the Gospel by & 
man aiek uf the palsy, who was so feeble that 
lie could not go> and thereforo was laid and 
borne in a iitteri and brought to our Lord : and 
when he saw hira in that misery, of His goodness 
He said to him i Arise, and take up thy hd, andg^o Sf/ohnr, 
howe to thy house; and so he did, and was whole. 
And soothly, n^ht as this man bare upon his 
bacL% when he WlIS made w'hcj!e, the bed that 
before bare him : right so it may be said in the 
spiritual sense, that a soul, reformed in faith, 
beareth this image of sin, which bare him before. 
And therefore be not too much adread of thy 
blackness that thou ha&t bv bearing of this image 
of sin i but only for the shame of the discomfort 
that tluju hast from the behijldmg of it, and also 
for the upbraidlog that thou feelest in thy heart 
of ihy ghostly enemies, when they say to thee 
thus: Wfu-7£ is thy Lord Jesus t IVJiat seekcst 
t/iott? IV/urc is the fdinu'ss that thou spcakest off 
Wlmt fcrft'si iho^t etse hf-t ti/n/d^i-ss of sin f JVhfre 
is that image of God, that (hou s<tyi-st is reformed in 
thtcf Comfort thyself, and be faithful sttifly, as 
1 said before, and if ihou ilo so, thou shall, by 
tliis faith, destroy all the lenii)Lations of thy 
enemies. Thus saith -S"//*.;///; J'cke urifo you fhr; f^^/nrs. vi. 
bncktcr of f'titk^ -^ith zvhirh ihott shait be abte A; 
qiiemh ait the bnrmng ddrts of Ike enemy. 


The Scale of Perfection 


Of three aorta ci Men, wlifwof same be not rrfcrmed, 
and RCirm be reformed only in FiiiL, aud soMe 
bclh 10 F^ilb and F»Uns 

By that wliich T have said, thou raayest perceive, 

that according to the divers parts of the soul are 
divers states of men. Some are reformed to the 
likeness of Crod, and some are not ; and some are 
reformed only in faith, and some both in faith 
and feeling. For thou must understand that a 
soul hath two parts. The one is called scnau- 
aiity, and that is fleshly feeling by the five out- 
ward senses, which is common to man with 
beasts; of the which sensuality, when it ia un- 
skilfiilly and inordinately ruled, is made up the 
image of sin » That is, when it is not ruled after 
reason, for then is the sensuality sin- The other 
part is called reason ; and that is parted also into 
two, into the superior and inf^^rior part. The 
superior part is likened to a man, for it should ba 
master and sovereign, and that is property the 
image of God, for by that only the soul tnoweth 
God, and loveth Kim. And the inferior is likened 
to a woman, for it should be obedient to the other 
part of reason, as woman is subject to man. And 
thb consisteth in the knowing and ruling of 
earthly things, for to use them discreetly accord- 
ing as we have need of them, and to refuse them 
when we have no need of them, and to have ever 
with it an eye upwards towards the superior part 
of reason with dread and reverence, to follow and 
be guided by it. 

Now may I say, that a soul that liveth afler 
the likings and lusts of his ficsh, is, as it w^e^ & 

The Second Book 



brute beast; and neither hath knowledge of God 
nor desire of virtues, nor of good livings but is all 
blinded in pride, fretted with envy, overlaid with 
covetousness, defiled with lechery, and other 
great sins^ is not reformed to the likeness of God; 
for it lieth and resteih fully in the image of sin, 
that is, in sensualilVn Another soul, that feareth 
God, and resistelh dttadly stirrings of the sensual 
part, and foUoweth them not but Uveih according 
CO reason in ruling and ordering of worldly 
things, and setteth his intent and his will for to 
plca50 God by his outward works, ia reformed to 
the likeness of God in faith ; and though he feel 
the same stirrings of ain as the other doth, they 
shall not disease him, for lie restetb not in them 
as the other doth. But another soul, that through 
grace fieeth a!I deadly stirrings of sensuality, and 
all venials also, so far forth that he feeleth them 
not, keeping under the very first risings, ia 
reformed in feeling; for hefolloweth and is led by 
the superior part of reason, and this he doth 
by the beholding of God and spiritual things, as 
I shall tell thee afterwards. 


How Men tl^at abide and five in Sia^ misshape tKem- 
selves into tkc likeness d£ divers Beasts, and theylt^c 
called the Lovers of the World 

A WRETCHED man is he then that knoweth not 
the worthiness of his soul, nor will know it, how 
it is the most worthy creature that ever God 
made, except an angel, to whom yet it is like; 
high above all others, the which nothing can 
satisfy as its full rest» but only God. And there- 
fore should he not love nor like anything, but 


The Scale of Perfection 

Ilim only, nor cov*t nor soek anything^, but how 
he m^y be rtf-nrmed to Mis imat^^e; for he know- 
eth not lhb» therefore seeketh he and coveteth 
.his rest and Ms liking: outwardly in bndily crea- 
tures that are worse than himsolf. Unnaturally 
doth he, and unreasoniLblv» that leavetli the sove- 
reign Good and everlasting Life (which is God) 
unsought and unloved, unknown and un wor- 
shipped, and chooseth his rest and his bliss in 
the fading delight of an earthly thing. And yet 
thus do all the lovers of this world, that have 
their joy and their bliss in this wretched life. 
Some have it in prtde and vain glory of them- 
selves, that when they have lost the fear of God 
they travail and study night and day how they 
may come to the worship and praise of ths world, 
and care not by what means they come thereto* 
and surpass all other men, either in learning or 
any other skill, in name or in frime, in riches or 
in respect, in sovereignty and mastership. Some 
men have llieir rest in riches, and in outrageous 
jfetting' of worldly goods, and set their hearts so 
fully to get them, that they seek nothing else but 
how they may come thereto. Some have their 
liking in fleshly lusts of gluttony and lechery, 
and other bodily uncleanness, and some in one 
tbing, and some in another. 
Tfif proud And thus wretchedly these that do thus, mis- 
tutHfdt^^fji shape themselves from ihc worthiness of a man, 
and turn themselves into the likeness of divi^rs 
beasts. A proud man is turned into a lion, for 
pride ; for he would he feared and worshipped by 
all, and that none should withstand the fulfilling 
of his fleshly will, neither in word nor deed. And 
if any one contradict his proud will, he becometh 
anjjry and wroth, and would revenge himself* on 

* Wrakca of kim. 

a Hon. 

LC Second Book 


him, as a Hon wreaketh himself en a little beast- 
He ilitit doth this is not a man, for he doth un- 
raturally and unreasonably against the kind ot 
a man, and :^o b turned find transformed into 
a lion. 

Envious and an^ry men arc turned into 
hounds, through wrath and envy, that barkt;th 
against his neighbour, and bileih him by wicked 
and malicious words, and with wrongful deeds 
grieveih them that have not trespassed against 
hira, harming them both in body and soul, con- 
trary to God's bifldiiig. 

Some men are misshapen into asses, that are 
slo'.v to the service of God, and evil willed to do 
any good deed to their neignbour. They are 
ready enough to run for worldly profit, and for 
earthly honour or for pleasing of earthly man. 
But for procuring reward in heaven, for helping 
of their own souls, or for the worship of God, 
they are soon weary, they have no list thereto ; 
and if they must go ^ibout any ^uch thing, they 
go but slowlv and with an unwilling mind. 

Some are turnt:'d into swine, for they are so 
blind in th^^ir understandings and so brutish in 
their manners that they have no fear of God, 
but follow only the lusts and likings of the flesh, 
and have no regard to the virtues and honesty 
beseeming the noble nature of man, nor to order 
themselves according to the rules of right reason, 
nor to refrain the unreasonable motions of sen- 
sual nature, hul as soon as a fleshly or sensual 
motion of sin riseth within them, they are ready 
to fall down thereto, and follow it as swine- 
Some m**n are turned into wolves, that live 
by ravening; as bad covetous men do that, 
tlirrjijjjh violt'nct? or might, rob or deceive theJr 
nei^idiours of their worldly goods; and some 

T/ie rn iri'oits 
fittJ aagry 

into ttises- 

into mint. 


The Scale of Perfection 

Ap&e. xsi. 

are turned into foxes, as false and deceiving 
people that live in treachery and guile. 

Ail these and many more, lha.1 live not in 
the fear of God, but break lli5 commandments, 
transform themselves from the likeness of God, 
and make ihemselvea like beasts^ yea and worse 
than beastSi for they are like to the fiend of helL 
And therefore verily Ihcse men that live thus, if 
they be not reformed when the hour of death 
Cometh and their souls part from their bodies, 
then shall their eyes be opened, which are now 
blinded with sin, and then shall they find and 
feel the torment of their wretchedness that they 
lived in here. And, forasmuch as the image of 
God was not reformed through the Sacrament of 
Penance in them neither in faith nor feeling- here 
in this life, they shall be cast out from the blessed 
face of our Creator as cursed, and shall be con- 
demned with the devil into the depth of hell, there 
to remain for ever. Thus aaith St John in the 
Apifcafypse: T)ie /ear /id and un believers, thEcurudy 
murder£rs, fomicatorSy sorcerers, tdolalers, and till 
iha£ Jove and mak£ a lie. their for Hon sfiall be in the 
pit thnt burns with fin and hnmstime. If the lovers 
of thi3 world would often think of this, how all 
this world shall pass away, and draw to an end, 
and how that all wicked love shall be most 
severely punished* they would in a short time 
loathe all vorldly lusts which they now lake 
most delight in, and would lift up their hearts 
to love God, and would carefully seek and labour 
how they might be reformed to His likeness ere 
they pass hence. 

The Second Book 




How Lov^fs of this World in divers -ways disenable 
themsdrea irora becoming reformed in their Soub 

But some wow will say tbus : I would fain love 
God, and be a g-ood man^ and forsake the love of 
the world if I might ; bat I have not grace for it. 
If I had the same grace that a good man hath, 
1 should do as he doth ; but because 1 have it 
not, I cannot, and so I need* seek to do no more, 
but am excused. 

Unto these men I answer thus : True it is as 
they say, that they have no grace, and therefore 
they lie still in their sin, and cannot rise out. 
But that avail^th them not before God, for it is 
their own fault. They discnable themselves in 
divers ways, so that the light of grace cannot 
shine into them, nor rest in their hearts. For 
some are so froward that they will not have 
grace, nor be good men at all ; for that they 
know well, if they should turn good men* they 
must part with the great liking' and lust of this 
world, which they have in earthly things ; but 
that they will not do> for they think they are 
so sweet that they will not part with them. 
And they must also do works of penance, as 
fasling-j watching, praying and many other 
good works, in chastising of theii fi&sh and la 
withdrawing of their fleshly will, and these may 
they not do, for they seem so sharp and so 
terrible to their thinking, that they shrinkf and 
loathe to think upon them, and so they cowardly 
and wretchedly still dwell in their sins. 

* It ia lo mc lu wyit no ojore, t U|;giBa 


The Scale of Perfection 

Some woulci seem desirous of grace, and 
beglo to dispose themselves for it, but iheir will 
is exceedingly weak, for as soon as any slirnng 
oFsin Cometh, though it be contrary to the com- 
mand of God, they tall presently thereto, for they 
are (through former cui^tom of often falling and 
assenting' lo ,sinj *^o as it were bound and tied to 
sin, that they think it impossible to withstand it; 
and so their imagined difiicuky of being- able to 
make such resistant^e maketh their will weak, 
and smiteth it down again. 

Some also feel the stirrings of grace, as when 
they have bittngs of conscience for Iheir evil 
living, and motions to leEive it, but it seems so 
painful and grievous to them that they will nf»t 
suffer it nor abide It, but fly from it and furgift it 
if they can, so that they run to seek comfort and 
contentment outwardly, at such times, in fleshly 
creatures, to the end Cliat they may not feel such 
pangs of conscience within tlieir souls, And 
moreover some men are so blind and so brutish 
that they think there is no other life but this ; nay, 
that there is nn soul other than of a beast, and 
that the soul of a man dielh ivith the body as the 
soul of a beast ; and therefore they say : Let ua 
eat and drink and make merry here, for of this 
life we are iccure, we see no other heaven. 

Verily such are some wretches that say thus 
in their hearts thoiifi:h they say it cot with their 
mouths. Of which men the Prophd saith thus; 
The f9ot hoth said in hts heart there is no Gixl. 
iiuch (1 fool is everv one that loveth or Hveth 
in sir^ and chooseth the love of the world as the 
rest of his soul ; he saith there is no God, not 
with his mouth, for he will speak of Him some- 
times, when the world g"oes well with him, as it 
wtre in reverence of Him, saying; Blessed be 

The Second Book 


God, And sometimes in despite, when he is 

angry against God or his neighbour and swt'ar- 

eth by his blessed body or any of his members* 

But he saith in his thoug-hta that there is no 

God, and tliai is because he imagineth that God 

seeth not his sin, or that He ^\'ill not puni&h 11 so 

severely tis tlie Scrjpiurf; saiih ; or that He will 

forgive hitn his sin though He see it ; or else that 

there shall no Christian be damned, do he never 

so ill. Or else, if he fasts the fasts of our Lady, 

or say every day so many prayers, or hear every 

day two or three T^lasses, or do some bodily 

work, as it wore for the honour of God, he 

thinketh he shall never go to hell, do he never so 

much sin, and continue in it^ This man saith in 

his lieart that there is no God, but is unwise, 

as the Prophet salth, for be shall one day find 

and feel in torments that He is a Uod whom 

he forgot and set at nought; but set by the 

wealth of the world, as the Prophet saith : Pain J*r, xxviiL 

on!y vnll give, undtrsfiriding. For he that know- 

c;h not this here, nor will know itj shall know it 

well when be U in torments. 


A little Counsel how Lovei^ of this World should do, 
\i they will be reformed in tlieir Souls before ihdr 
depart ur<: hence 
ri[E5E men, though they know well that they 
are out of grace, and in deadly sin, they have 
no care nor sorrow nor thought therefore, but give 
themselves to sensual mirth and worldly solace 
as much as they can. And the farther they 
be from grace the more mirih they make, and 
perchance some of them hold themselves well 
apaid that they have no grace, that they may 


The Scale of Perfection 

as it were the mora fully and freely follow the 
liking of fleshly lusta as thoug*h God were 
asleep and did not see them. And this 13 one 
of the greatest faults that can be. And thus, 
by their own perv er.seness, they stop the light 
of grace from their own soul, that it may not 
rest therein. The which grace, for its part^ is 
most willing and ready to shire to all creatures, 
and enter into the souls of men, that will but 
be willing to receive it, even as the sun shineth 
upon all creatures bodily, where it ia not 
hindered. Thus saith S£ yohn in the Gospel: 
St/ohmt The light shweth in darknss^^ end the darkness 
comprehenddh iittof. That is, these blind hearts 
receive rot the gracious light, nor have the bene- 
fit of it, but even as a biind man is bccompassed 
with the light oF the sun when he standeth in 
it, and yet seeth it not, nor recciveth any benefit 
of It, as for goln^^ or walking, or working by 
it. Even fio, spiritually, a soul blinded with 
deadly sin Is all encompassed with thia spiritual 
light, and yet he is never the better, for he is 
blinded, and will not see nor know his blindness, 
and this i^ one of the greatest impediments of 
grace, that a man so wretched will not, by ressOQ 
of his pride, be nknown of his blindness ; or else, 
if he know it, careth not for it, but maketh 
merry, as if he were very secure and safe. 

Therefore, unto alt these men ihac are thus 
blinded and bound with the love of this world, 
and are fallen from the natural fairness of man, 
and are become misshapen, I say and counsel 
that they would think on their souls, and dis- 
pose themselves for grace as much as they 
can ; which they may do on this %vise, if they 
will, when they find themselves out of a state 
of grace, and overlaid with deadly sin, let them 

The Second Book ^ I73 

first think with themselves what a miserable 
and dangerous thing- it is to be out of the state 
of grace and separated from G-od ; for there 
is nothing' that holdetb them from falling into 
the pit of heU presently^ save the bare sing-le 
thread of this bodily life, whereby they hang ; 
and what may more easily be broken in two 
than a single thread f For, were the breath 
stopped in their body (and that may t-asrly hap- 
pen] their soul ^Yould pre^sently pass oi:tj and 
would instantly be in hell, there to rtmain ever- 
lastingly. And if they would but thus think 
with themselves for some lime, they would shake 
and tremble at the righteous judgements of God 
and at His severe punishing- of sins^ and they 
would begin to grieve a.nd sorrow for their sins, 
and for their want of God's grace and favour, 
and tlien would they cry and pray that they 
might have grace, and if they did thus, then 
vould grace enter in and put out darkness and 
hardness of heart and weakness of their will, 
and give them might and strength to forsake 
the false Jove of thi»i world, so far at least 
as it is deadly sin ; for there is no soul so far 
from God through wilfulness of deadly sin 
(I except none that Hveth in this body of sin) 
that may not, through grace, become righteous, 
and be restored to cleanness of living, if he will 
but bow and submit his will to GoJ with hu- 
mility, for to amend his life, and heartily aslc 
grace and forgiveness of Himj and excuse our 
Lord and wholly accuse himself. For holy 
Writ saith : / wr7i not, saiih the LorJ^ the death 
of a simtCTt hid raiher thai ht he converted and live, ff*rr. ranlTL 
for our Lord's will is that the most froward man 
that liveth, and who through sin is misshapen 
in soul, if he will but change his will and ask 
grace, may be reformed to His likeneea. 


The Scale of Perfeclion 


Of ReforminB ia Faitt and Feeling also— Tbal this 
Reforming cannot bf suddenly goncn, but in 
kngth of Tim*, by Grice, and much SpiriluaJ 
and Corporal Industry 

Thk T^*forniing in Faith, which I have before 
treated of, may easily be gotten. But after this 
Cometh reforming in FatCk and Pech/tg^, which 
will not easily be gotten, but by much pains and 
industry. For reforming in Faith is conimoo to 
all chosen souls, though they be in the lowest 
degree of chanty- Btit reiorming in Feeling is 
onJy in tho^e souls that are coming- to the state 
of perfection, and that canrol be attained unto 
suddenly, but after great plenty of grace, and 
much and long spiritual exercising'i and thereby 
shall a man attain thereto, and thai will be after 
that he is flrst healed of his spiritual sickness, 
and after that all bitlcr passions and tleshly lusts 
and otber old feelings are burnt ouc of the heart 
by the lire of desire ; and new gracious feelings 
are brought in with burning love and spiriiual 
light. Then doth the soul draw very near to 
perfection, and to reforming in feeling. 

And here it is no otherwise then, as when 
a man through bodily sickness is brought near to 
death, though he receive a medicine, by ihe 
which he is restored, and is freed from the danger 
of death, yet cannot he, therefore., prtsenily ri'^e 
up, and go to work as a sound roan mayj for the 
feebleness of his body keeps him down, so that 
he must re&t, and follow the use of medicines, 
and use a good diet, by measure, according to 
the advio^ of a physician, till he hath fully 
recovered his health. Right so in this spiritual 

The Second Book 


business, he who through deadly sin is brought 
to a spiritual death, though through the medi- 
cine of the Sacrament of Penance he be restored 
to life, so that he shall not be damned, neverthe- 
less he is not presently whole, and cured of all 
his passions ^nd of all his fleshly desires, nor is ape 
for contemplation; but he must abide a great 
while, and lake good heed to himself and order 
himself so, that he may recover perfect health of 
soul ; for he shall lin^-^er a great while, ere he be 
fijlly whole. Yet if he lake medicineSj by the 
counsel of a g'ood spiritual Phy^ician^ and use 
them in time with measure and discretion, he 
shall much the sooner be restored to his spiritual 
strength, and come to reforming in feeling. For 
reforming' in Faith is the lowest state of ail 
chosen souls^ for beneath that they cannot well be. 
But reforming- in feeling is the highest slate 
in this life that the soul can come to, Eut from 
the iQweji^t lo the highest a soul cannot suddenly 
start, no more than a man that would climb upon 
a ladder that is high, and setteth his foot on the 
lowe&t stave, can at the next step get up to the 
highest, but must go by degrees from one to an- 
other till he rome to the highest. 

Even so il is spiritually, no man becometh sud- 
denly supreme ar high in grace, but through long 
exercise and cunning" working of the soul may 
he come thereto, namely when He (in whom all 
grace lieth) helpeth and leacbeth a wretched soul, 
for without His special help and inward teaching 
can no soul arrive thereto. 



The Scale of Perfection 



The Causes why so few Souls in comparison of the 

Multitude of others, come to tbia HclotfTUog that 
is both in Faith aad FceUnff 

But now thou wilt say. Since our Lord is so 
courteous of His goodness, and so free of His 
gracious gifts, it is a wonder that so few souls (as 
it seems) iu comparison of the multitude of others 
come to this reforming in feeling-- It would seem 
that either He is unwilling, but that is not so ; or 
that He hath no regard of His creatureSj who by 
receiving: t>f Faith are become His servants, 
Gnse 1. Unto this I answer that one occasion is this: 
Many that are reformed in Fatlh, set not their 
hearts to profit in gracCj nor to seek a higrher 
estate of good living-, through much industry 
in praying and thinking:, ^^^ other bodily and 
spiritual eiercises; but think it enough for them 
to keep themselves from deadly sins, and to stand 
still in the plight they are in. For they say it is 
enough for them to be saved, and have the least 
degree in Heaven, they will covet no more. 

Thus perchance, do some souls, who are in the 
state of g:race, and lead an active life in the world, 
say or think ; and it is no wonder, for they are so 
busied with worldly things that are needful to be 
done that they Ciinnot fully set their hearts to 
profit in spiritual exercises. But nevertheless, 
such proceeding is perilous to them, for they fall 
daily, and are now up, Eind now down, and can- 
not come to the stability of good living, yet are 
Ihey somewhat excusable, by i^a^on of iheir con- 
dition of life, iiut other men and women who 

The Second Book 


are free from worldly businesses if they will, 
and m^y have their reedful sustenance with- 
out much solicitude about it, especially reli- 
gious men. and women, who have bound them- 
selves by enCering- into rellg-ion to the state of 
perfection, and other men also in secular estate 
that have good abilities and understanding, and 
may (if they will dispose themselves) come to 
much grace ; these men are more to blame. 
These persons, I say, are more to blame, for they 
stand still, as idle, and will not profit in grace* 
nor in further seeking to come to the love and 
knowledge of God. 

For verily it is perilous for a soul to be reform- ititdan^fw. 
ed only in faith, and will not seek to make any "us te b^-t^jit* 
further progress, nor give himself dilig^ently to /^^SI^/ 
spiritual exercises, for so he may easily lose that o/^uct. 
he hath. and fall again into deadly sin. For a soul 
cannot stand still alwaysinonesta-te, for it is either 
profiting in grace, or decaying through sin. For 
It fareth with him, as it doth with a man that were 
drawn out of a pit, and when he is up, would go 
no further than the pit's brink, surely he were a 
very fool, for a little puff of wind, or an unwary 
moving of himself, might soon cast him down 
again, and that worse than he was before. But if 
he fiy as far as he can from the brink and go for- 
ward, on further ground ; then, though there come 
a great storm, he is the more secure from falling 
into the pit. Right so is it in this spiritual busi- 
ness ; he that is drawn out of the pit of sin through 
reforming of Faith, and when he is out of deadly 
sin thinketh himself secure enough, and there- 
fore will not profit, but remaineih still at the 
pit's brink, as near as he may, he is not wise; 
for upon the least temptation of the enemy, or of 
hid flesh, he falleth into sin again. But if he fleo 


The Scale ol PerFection 

CdMJf 3. 

from the pit. that is, if he set his heart fully to 
come to more grace, and to use his best inclus- 
tr>' to come thereto, and give himself heartily to 
prayer, meditaling and other good works, though 
great temptations rise against hitn, lie falleth not 
easily to deadly sin again. 

And verily it is a wonder to me, that seeing 
grace is so ^ood and so profitable, why a man, 
when he hath but a little thereof, yea so little that 
he can scarce have less, should say : Ho, I will 
have no more of this, for I have enough. When 
yet I see a worldly man, though he have of 
worldly goods much more than he needeth, yet 
will he never say : Ho, I have enough, I will have 
no more of this; but will covet more and more, 
and bestir all his wits and fnifiht, and will never 
set a stint to his covetousness to get more. 
Much more, then, should a chosen soul covet 
spiritual good, which is everlasting, and which 
maketh a soul blessed, and never should cease 
from coveting, if he did well, to get what he 
might get* For he that most coveteth, most 
sbali have ; and surely if he do thus, he shall pro- 
fit and grow in grace greatly. 

Another cause of such fewness of souls re- 
formed in feeling is this: Some men that are 
reformed in Faith, in the beginning of their turn- 
ing to God, set lhemseIvt?H in a certain manner 
of workirg, whether it bo spiritual or corporal, 
and think ever to hold on in that manner of 
working, and not to change it for any other that 
Cometh through grace, though it were better, 
imagining the first course to be best for them 
to hold on in, and therefore they rest therein, 
and through custom so bind themselves thereto 
that when they have fulfilled it they find them- 
selves wonderfully well aatisfied, for they imagine 

The Second Book 


they have done a great good thing therein for 
God. And if it chance ihat they be at any time 
hindered from their said custom, thougii it be by 
a just occasion, they are sad and troubled in con- 
science, as if they had done a great deadly sin. 

These men hinder themseives somewhat from 
feeling of more grace, for they set their perfection 
in a corporal work, and so they make an end in 
the midst of the way, where no end 13. For those 
corporal or sensible customs, which men use in 
their beginnings, are good, but they are but 
means and ways to lead a soul forward to per- 

And therefore he that setteth his perfection in 
any bodily or spiritual exercisej which he feeleth 
in the beginning of his turning to God, and will 
seek no further, but ever rest therein, he hinder- 
eth himself greatlyn For it is but a silly way ot 
tradings wherein an apprentice is ever in the 
same degree of skill, and can do as much in It 
on the first day as he can thirty years aften Or 
else, if the trade be good and subtle, he is but 
of a dull wit, or an evil will that profiteth not 

Now it is certain, that of all crafts the service 
of God is most sovereign and most subtle, and 
the highest and hardest to come to perfection in 
it, and also the most profitable and gainful to 
them that faithfully prosecute it; and therefore 
it seemeth that the apprentices to it that ate ever 
alike in learning are either dull witted or evil 

I do not reprove those customs that men use 
in their beginnings, whether they be corporal or 
apirituol, but say that they be full good and 
profitable* for ihem to use. But I would that 

* Specif uU 

It is no/g0O9- 

sei-ves to any , 

vofioni UH- 



^^ iSo 

The Scale of Perfection 

^^H they ftUould hold them only as a way and an 
^^H entry towards spiritual feeling'* and that they use 
^^H them as convenient means till better come ; and 
^^H that while they use them they covet after better. 
^^H And then if better come that are more spiritual, 
^^H and more drawing' in of the thoughts from flesh- 
^^H lines3 and sensuEility, and vain imagflnation^i if 
^^H that same better thing should be hindered by 
^^H cleaving still to their former customs^ that then 
^^H they leave such their custom [when it may be left 
^^H without scandal or harm* to others) and follow 
^^H that which they feel. But If neither hinder the 
^^1 other, that then they u^e both if they may. I 
^^^ mean not of leaving customs necessary throug'h 
^^^ bond of law, or of rule^ or of penance, but 

of others voluntarily undertaken. Thus saith 
A, Ixxjslii. the Prophtt in the Psaltm : Surely the i<mgtvcr 

•mill giv^ Hts bUssingy they shall go from strength 
1 to Hrength^ and the God of Gods shall be seen in 
1 Stan, That is, our Saviour will give His grace 
^^K to chosen souls, calling' them from sin and mak- 
^^H in^ them rlg^htt^us through good works to His 
^^B likeness ; through which o^ace they shall profit 
^^H and grow from virtue to virtue till they come to 
^^H Sion, that is, till they come to contemplation in 
^^P -which they shall see the God of ^ois, that is, 
^^H they shall ser^ well that there is bui one God. 

The Second Book 



How ttiAt witficLiI gr^at Corporal and Spiritiial Ih' 
dustry, and whhout much Grace and Humility, 
Souls c^anot come to reforming' in Feeling nor 
keep thcnuclvea therein &iitr they ccjmc tficrcto 

But now thou wilt say, since it is so, that re- 
forming' in Faith only is so low, and so perilous 
lo rest in, for fear oi falling' ag-ain ; and reform- 
ing' in Feelinjf is so high, and so secure for them 
that can arrive thereto, therefore covetest thou to 
know what kind of exercises and industries were 
most convenicTit to be used for It, by the which 
thou mayest proiic and come thereto; or whether 
there be any one certain exercise or special work 
hy which a man may come to that grace and 
that reforming in fceUng, 

To this I answer thus: Thou knowest well 77^j"^*"{ 
that what man or woman that will dispose him- „//7Aj^*"'" 
self to come lo cleanness of heart and to feeling 
of grace, it behoveth him. to use much industry 
and gjeat striving both in will and in deeds con- 
tinually against the wicked stirrings of all chief 
sins. Not only against pride or envy^ but against 
all other, with all the kinds that come out of 
them, as I have said before in the First Book. 
For why? Passions and fleshly desires hinder 
the cleanness of heart and peace of conscience. 
And il behoveth him also to labour to get all 
virtues, not only chastity and temperance, but 
also patience and mildness, charity and humility, 
and all the other. And this cannot be done by- 
one manner of work, but by divers works, ac- 
cording to the divers and sundry dispositions of 
men, as now praying, now meditaling, now work- 


The Scale o£ Perfection 

ing" some g^ood works, now proving and exercising" 
themselves in divers ways^ in hunger, in thirst, in 
cold, in sufFerincf of shame and despite, if need 
"be, and bodily pains and labours, for the love of 
virtue and justice. This thou knowest full vreH, 
for this thou readest in every book that Createth 
of guod life; ihus saith every mati that would 
stir up men's souls to the love of &od. And so 
it appeareth tFiat there is no one special exer- 
cise, no certain work by which only a soul can 
come to that grace, but principally through the 
grace of our Lord Jesus, and by many and great 
deeds, in all that he is able to do* and yet all La 
little enough. 

And one reason why there must be such pains- 
taking is this: That since our Lord Jesus Him- 
self is the special master and teacher of this art, 
and the special Physician of spiritual sicknesses; 
for without Him all is nought; it is therefore 
reasonable, that as lie teacheth and stirreth. 
so a man should follow and work. But he is 
a simple master that cannot teach his scholar 
whilst he is learning but only one lesson, and 
he is an unskilful physician, that by one medi- 
cine would heal all sores. Therefore our Lord 
Jesus, that is so wise and so good, to show His 
wisdom and goodness teacheth divers les.'^ons 
to His scholars, after that they profit in their 
learning, and giveth to divers souls divers and 
several medicines according to the nature of 
their sickness. 

Another reason also is this ; If there were 
one certain work by which a soul might come 
to the perfect love of God, then might a man 
fancy that lie might come thereto by his own 
endeavours, and throue^h his own travail only; 
as a merchant cometh to his riclies only hy his 

The Second Book 183 

o^vIl industry and travail. But it is not 50 in 
this spiritual business, concerning the love of 
God ; for he that will serve God vrfseiy and 
come to the perfect love of God, he will covet 
lo have none other reward but Him only. But 
then for to have him may no creature deserve 
by his own travail or industry ; for though a man 
could labour both corporally and spiritually as 
much as could a]l the creatures that ever have 
been, yet could he not, for all that, only by his 
own working deserve to have God for his reward ; 
for He i!* the sovereign bliss and endless good- 
oesSf and surpaaseth without comparison all men's 
deserts; and therefore He cannot be gotten by 
any man's special working, as a temporal re- 
ward may, for He is free and giveth to whom 
He will, and when He will, neither for this, nor 
for that, nor in this time, nor after that time> 
For though a soul work all that he can and may 
all his lifetime, yet shall he never have thft per- 
fect love of Jesus till our Lord will freely give it. 

Nevertheless, on the other side, I say that Neiihergraa 
God useth not to give such grace unless a man v'fJ'fif.fvoTk- 
do work and travail all that he can and may; '^'^ff^"/ 
yea^ till it seem to him that he caa work no g'tue, 
more, or else be in full will and desire to do 
more if he could. And so it seemeth, that 
neither grace only, without the full working of 
the soul so far as it can, nor the man's work- 
ing alone, without grace, brint^eih the soul to 
the reforming in feeling (the which reforming con- 
sisteth in perfect love and charity). But that 
both joined together, that is grace joined to 
working, bringeth into a soul the blessed feel- 
ing' of perfect love. The which grace cannot 
rest fully, but only on humble souls that be full 
of the fear of God. 



The Scale of Perfection 

Therefore I may affirm that he that hath not 
iumiHty, nor doth use his industry and labour, 
cannot come to this refurming in feeling. And 
he hath not fiill humility, that understandeih 
and perceiveth not himself truly as he is. As 
thus: He that doth all the good deeds that he 
can, as fastings watching, weiiring hair-ctoth, 
and all other sufferings of bodily penance, or 
doth all the outward works of mt^rcy to his 
neighbour, or else internal works, as praying, 
weeping, sighing, meditating, if he always rest 
in them, and lean so Tziuch on them, and so 
greatly regardeth them in his own sight and 
esteem that he presumeth on his own deserts, 
and thinketh himself ever rich and good, holy 
and virtuous, verily as long as he feeleth him- 
self thus, he is not humble enough. No ; though 
he say or think that all that he doth is of God's 
gift, and not of himself, he is not yet humble 
enough; for he doth not as yet make himself 
naked of all his good deeds, nor tody poor in 
spirit, nor feels himself to be nothing, as indeed 
he ts. And verily, till a aoul through grace is 
come sensibly to annihilate herjielf and strip her- 
self of all the good deeds that she doth, through 
the sight and beholding of the truth of Jesus, she 
is not perfectly humble; for what is humility but 
truth ? Verily nothing else. And therefore he 
that through grace can see Jesus, how that He 
doth all, and himself doth ja^t nothing, but 
sufi'ereth Jesus to work in him what He pleaseth, 
he is humble. But this is very hard, and as it 
were impo^^lble, and unreasonable (to a man 
that worketh all by liuman reason, and seeth 
no further) for to do many good deeds, and then 
lo attribute all to Je&us and set hira.^elf at nought. 
But whoso can have a spiritual sight of the truth. 

The Second Book 185 

he shall think it full true and full reasonable to 
do so_ And verily he that hath this sight shall 
do never the less, but shall be stirred up to tra- 
vail corporally and spiritually, much the more, 
and with a belter wilL And this may be one 
cause why some men pemdventure labour and 
travail.* and pine their wretched bodies with out- 
rageous penance all their lifetime, and are ever 
saying prayers and psalms and many beads» and 
yet cannot come to the spiritual feeling of the 
love of God, as it seems some do in short time, 
with less painSj for they have not that humility 
I sp&ke of. 

Also on the other side I say : He that useth 
not his industry, but tliinketh thus with himself, 
to what end should I lake pains? Why should 
I pray, or meditate, or watch, or fast, or do any 
other bodily penance to attain to such grace, see- 
ing it cannot be gotten or had bur only by the 
free gift of Jesus } Therefore 1 will continue in 
my sensuality as I am, and do even nothing of 
any such corporal or spiritual works ; but expect 
till He give it, for if He be pleased to give it. He 
asketh no working of me, how much soever or 
how little I do, 1 shall have it, and if He be 
pleased not to give it, labour I never so hard, 
I shall get it never the sooner. He that saith 
thus shall never come to this refi^rming, for he 
draweth himself wilfully to idleness of the flesh, 
and disenableth himself for the receiving of the 
gift of grace^ inasmuch as he layeth astide and 
puiteth from him both inward working, which 
conslsteth in a lasting desire and longing after 
Jesus, and outward working, by exercising his 
body in outward dteds, so that he shall never 
receive the said grace. 

I receive the ; 

' Swink Bnd swt&t. 



The Scale of Perfection 

Therefore I say that he that hath not true 
humility, nor is very serious and diligent, either 
only in internal exercises and continual desire 
towards God by prayer, and devout afffctions 
and thoughts of Him, or else both inwani and 
outward, he cannot come to this spiritual form- 
ing of His image. 

Tkt thorltjl 

end readiest 
■bay tu lUtain 


Afl Entry or good Beginnioff of a Spiritual Journey, 
atiowine bow a St7ul should behave herself in 
intending and workinff that will com* ta ihig 
Reforming^ by cximpls of a Pilffrim EToing lo 
Nevkktheless^ for that thou covetest to know 
some manner of working by which thou mayest 
the sooner attain to this reforming. I shall show 
thee, as well as I can. tha shortest and readiest 
help that 1 know in tbi> working. And how that 
may be I shall tell chee by an example of a good 
pilgrim in this wise. There was a nan that 
would go to yertisait-m, and because he knew not 
the way he came to another man, who he be- 
lieved knew the way thither better, and asked 
him whether he mig-ht come to that city, who 
answered that he could not come thither with- 
out great pains and travail, for the way is long 
and perilous, and full of great thieves and robbers 
and many other hindrances there be that befall 
a man in his going, and also there be many 
several waj's as it seemeth Irading thitherward. 
And many men travelling thitherward are often- 
times killed or robbed^ and so may not come to 
that place which they desire. Nevertheless, there 
is one way, the which whosoever taketh and hold- 
eth to it, I will undertake (saith he) he shall come 

The Second Book 


to that city of Jerumicm, and shall never lose his 
life, nor bo slain, nor die by defaalt^ though he 
should ofl be robbed and well beaten, and suffer 
much pain in the going-, yet his life shall be safe. 
Then said the pilgrim, so I may have my life 
saved, and come to the place that I cover, I care 
not what mischief I suffer in going. And there- 
fore, tell and advise me what you think neces- 
sary, and I promise you on a certainty that I will 
follow vour counsel. That other man answered 
and said thus ; Lo, 1 set thee in the right way ; 
this is the way, and see that thou bear in mind 
that which I ttrll thee. Whatsoever thou seest, 
hearest, or feelest, that would stay or hinder thee 
in the way^ stick not at it, willingly consent not 
to it, abide not with it, behold it not, like it not, 
fear it not, but still go forward holding on thy 
way, and ever think and say with thysalf that 
thou fain wouldsc be at Jerusalem^ for that thou 
covetest and that thou desirest ; and nought else 
but that, and if men rob thee and spoil thee, beat 
thee, scorn thee, despise thee, do not thou strive 
against such their doings, if thou m^an to have 
thy life safe, but be content with the harm thou 
receive^!, and hold on thy way, as if all that were 
nothing, lest thou receive mare harm- Also if 
raen would seek to stay thee by telling tales, and 
feed thee with lies or conceits to draw thee to 
merriment, or to forsake or prolong thy pilgrim- 
age^ give them a deaf ear and answer them not 
again, and say naught else bat that thou wouldst 
fain be at yerusalftn. And if men proffer thee 
gifts, and would make thee rich with worldly 
goods, listen not to them, but think ever on 
JerusaUm. And if thou wilt hold this course 
and do that which I have said, I will under- 
take for thy life, that thou shalt not tje slain^ 



The Scale of Perfection 

but that thou shall come to that place that thou 

Now to apply this spiriiuaily to our purpose: 
Jerusalem is, as much as to say, a sight vf peace \ 
and belokeneth contemplation in perTect love of 
God ; for contemplation is nothing else but a sight 
of God, which is very peace. Then if thou covet 
to come to this blessed sight of very peace, and 
be a true pilgrim towards y^rusaienit though it 
be so that I was never there^ ni^e^rlhel^ss, as far 
forth as I can, 1 shall set thee in the way to- 
wards it. 

The beginning of the high way, in which thou 
shalt go, is reforming' in Faith, grounded humbly 
on the faith and on the laws of holy Church as 
I have said before ; for trust assuredly, though 
you have sinned heretofore, if you be now re- 
formed by the Sacrament of Penance, after the 
law of holy Church, ihat thou art in the right 
way. Now then, since thou art in ihe safe way, 
if tiiou wilt speed in thy going- ^ind make a good 
journey, it behoveth thee to hold these two things 
often in thy mind: //umiiify a.nd Lwe ; and often 
say to thyself, / am fwthing^ I have no//iw^, I covei 
nothings bui one. Thou ahali have the meaning 
of these words in thine intent, and in the habit of 
thy soul perpetually, thoug-h thou have them not 
always expressly in thy thought (for that is not 
necessary]. Humility saith, I arn nothings I ha^e 
nothing; Love aailh, I cm)ct nothing-^ hut tme, and 
that is Jesus. These two stirrings well fastened, 
with the minding of Jesus, make good music in 
the harp of the soul, when they be cunningly 
slruck upon with the finger ot reason ; for the 
lower thou smilest upon the one, the higher 
soundeth the other. The less thou feelest that 
thou art, or that thou hast of thyself, through 

The Second Boob i8q 

Humility, the more thou covctest for to have 
of Jesus, through desire of love. I mean not 
only that Humility which a soul feeleth by the 
sight and sense of his own sin, for frailness and 
wretchedness of this life, or of the wretchedness 
of his neighbour; for though this kind of Hu- 
mility be true and wholesome, neverihdess it 
is boisterous and fleshly in comparison of that 
other, not so clean, nor soft, nor lovely. I mean 
that Humility which a soul feeleth through grace, 
in the sight and beholding of the endless being, 
and the wonderful goodness of Jesus, and if thou 
canst not see it with thy spiritual eye, yet that 
thou believe it ; for through this sight of his 
being, either in full faith or in feelings thou 
shalt esteem thyself not only the most wretched 
creature that is» hut also as nothing in the sub- 
stance of thy soul, though thou hadst never done 
any sin. And this is lovely Humility; for in 
respect of Jesus (who is truly all) thou art just 
nothing, and so must thou think that thou hast 
just nothing", but art as a vessel that standeth 
ever empt)-, and as if nothing were therein, as 
of itself ; for do thou never so many good deeds 
outward or inward, until thou have and feel that 
thou hast the love of Jesus, thou hast just no- 
thing. For with that precious liquor only may 
thy soul be filled, and with none oLher. And 
forasmuch as that thing alone is so precious and 
noble, therefore whatever else thou hast, or what 
thou dost, hold and esteem it as nothing as to 
rest in, without the sight and the love of Jesus- 
Cast it all behind thee, and forget it, that thou 
mayest have this, which is the best of all. Just 
as a true pilgrim, going towards Jerusalem^ 
leaveth behind him house and land, wife and 
children, and maketh hijnself poor and bare 


The Scale of Perfection 

from all thirgfs that he hath, that he may go 
lightly without letting. Right 50, if ihou wilt 
be a spiritual pilgrim, thou shah strip thyself 
naksd of all that thou hast, that are either gx>od 
deeds or bad, and ca« them all behind thee, that 
thou be so poor in thy own feeling- that there be 
nothing of thy own working that thou wilt resl- 
ingly lean on ; but ever desiring- more grace and 
love, and ever seeking the spiritual presence of 
Jesus. And if thou dost thus^ then shalt thou 
resolve in thy heart ftdly and wholly that thou 
wilt be at yrrusaiem, and at no other place but 
there; Chat \s, thou shalt purpose in thy heart 
wholly and fully that thou wilt nothing have but 
the love of Jesus and the spiritual sight of Him 
in aucb manner as He shall please to show Him- 
self; for to that end only art thou made and re- 
deemed, atid He it is that is thy beginning and 
thy end, thy joy and thy bltss. And therefore 
whatsoever thou hast^ be thou never so rich in 
other deeds spiritual or corporal (unless thou 
have this love that I speak of^ and know atid 
feel that thou hast it) hold and esteem that thou 
hast right nothing. Imprint this well in the de- 
sire of thy soul, and cleave fast thereto, and it 
shall save thee from all perils in thy going, that 
thou slialt never perish, and it shall save thee 
from the tbieves and robbers which I call un- 
clean spirits, that though they spoil thee and 
beat thee by divers temptations, thy life shall 
ever be safe; and in brief, if thou keep it, as 
1 have said, thou shalt escape all perils and 
misthiefe, and come to the city of JerusaicTn in 
a short time. 

Now then, since thou art in the way, and 
knowest the name of the place, and whither 
thou tendest, begin therefore to go thy joiuTiey, 

'The Second Book 191 

Thy setting' forth is naught el&s but spiritu^ 
working, and bodily also, when there is need, 
which thou shalt use according to discretion 
in this wise. What work soever it is that thou 
shalt do [according to thy degree, and the estate 
thou art in), corporally or spiritually, if it holp 
and further this gracious desire that thou hast 
to love Jesus, and make it more whole, more 
easy, and more mig'hty to all virtues and to all 
goodness, that work I hold the best, be it preach- 
ing, be it meditating, reading, or working j and as 
long as that work strengthent-lb most thy heart 
and thy will to the love of Jesus, and draweth 
thy affeciions and thy thoughts farthest off from 
worldly vanities, it is good to use it ; and if so be 
that through use the savour or good taste thereof 
groweth less, and thou thinkest of some other 
work that savoureth more, and thou feelest 
more grace in that other, take the other, and 
leave that. For though thy desir© and the 
yearning of thy heart to Jesus ought ever to 
be unchaiigeabl?, nevertheless thy spiritual 
works that thou art to use, in praying or 
thinking, for the feeding and nourishing thy 
desire, may be divers, and mav well be changed* 
after that thou feelest thyself disposed through 
grace severally to apply thy heart to them; for 
it fareth with works and this dcsiro as it doth 
with sticks and a fire, for the more sticks are 
laid to the fire, the greater is the fire> Right so, 
the more several spiritual works that a man hath 
in his de&ign, to keep entire this desire, the 
mightier and more burning shall his desire be 
to God, 

And therefore consider wisely what work thou 

et do, and which most helpeth to keep 
i desire of Je£us ^if so be thou be free, 


The Scale of Perfection 

and not boumi by any obiig"ation), and that do. 
Bind not ihyself lo voluntary customs unchange- 
ably, which may hinder the liberty of thy heart 
to correspond or answer the motion or invitation 
of Jesus, if His grace at anv time should speciaJly 
visit thee. And I shall tell thee what customs 
are ever g-ood and necessary to be kept, that is, 
auch as consist in the getting of virtues, and in 
hindering or resisting of sin, such customs 
should never be left ; for Ihou shouldst ever be 
humble, patient, sober and chaste, if thou do as 
thou shouldst. But the customs of other things, 
if they hinder a better good, are good to be laid 
aside, giving place to that which would be better 
for us. As thus, if a man have a custom to say 
so many beads or prayers, or to medicate of such 
or such a subject, for so long a time, or to watch, 
or kneel thus long, or any other such bodily 
deed, these customs are to be left sometimes 
when reasonable cause requlreth, or when more 
grace cometh otherwise, or in some other exercise. 


Of certain Temptations and Lcttings which Souls feel 
from their Spiridial Encimcs, in ihcir SpiriEual 
knowing and going rawards Jerusalem, and the 
Remedies agaJost ih«m 

Now that thou art in the way, and knowest how 
thou shouldst go, beware of thy enemies, that 
will be busy to let thee if they can. For their 
intent is to put out of thy heart that desire, 
and that longing that thou hast to the love of 
Jesus, and to drive thee home again to the love 
of worldly vanities : for that nothing grieveth 
them 50 much as this desire. These enemies 

The Second Eoolc 


are priticipally ilpslily desires, and vain fears, 
which rise out of thy heart, through the corrup- 
tion of thy fleshly nature^ and would hlntier thy 
desire of the love of God, that they may fully 
and peaceably possess thy heart ; tlicae are thy 
nearest enemies. Also other etiemies there are, 
as unclean spirits, which are busy with slig:ht3 
and wile:^ to deceive tliee. But one remedy hast 
thou, which 1 mentioned before, and that is, that 
whatsoever they say, believe them not ; but hold 
on thy way, and only desire the love of Jesus, 
Answer them ever on this wise; / am noihing^ 
/ have ncthif^g, 1 covet nothing only the Itrve of ouf 
L^rd Jesus. 

If thy enemies, by suggPstion*i in thy soul, say Thtfrsf 
unto thee that thou hast^not made thy Confession temptation. 
aright, or that there i^ -some old former sin litd in 
thy heart that thou knowesc not, nor never madeat 
thy Confes-^ion aiight of it, and therefore thou 
must turn home ag;iin, and leave off thy desire, 
and go confess thyself better; believe not this 
saying, for it is false, for thou art rightly con- 
fessed, and 60 do thou surely hope and trusts 
and that thou art in the riglit way, and that 
thou needest no further to ransack thy soul for 
confession of that which is past; hold on thy 
way. and think only on yfrusaUm. 

Also, il" they say that thou art not worthy to Thestcottd 
have the love of GolI, and therefore why shouldst f^^'Pit^tton. 
thou covet that which thou wilt not be able to 
attain, nor art not worthy of; believe ihem not 
but go on, and say thus: Not because I am worfhy, 
hut bcceiusd I atrt unwortUyj therefore zoouid I love 
God; for if I had His lave^ that it>mild •make nte 
worthy ; and sinca I was cre'itcd to that cnd^ though 
I shout d never hiivs if, rft will I covet it, and there- 
fort viiil I pray oftd thsnk that I may get it^ And 



The Scale of Perfection 

7S* fhird 


then if thy enemies see that thou be^innest lo 
wax bold, and well-willed to thy work, they will 
beg^in to be afraid of tlice, yet will they not 
cease to seek to stay and hinder thee as much 
as they can, as long as thou art going in the 
way, what with affrighting and threatening' thee 
on one side, and what with flattering' and vain 
pleasing' thee on the other side, to make thee 
break thy purpose and turn home again. And 
they will say thus : J/ ihou- h&ld on thus tky 
desire io ycsus, trmjaiUng so fcrvstUh as tJiou nffw 
bfgmviest, thou "miU fail iw/f hodtiy stcknfss, or tkau 
wtUcrau ffiy head and fall inio fancies or nulan- 
clwly, as tlwu y£sC some do ; or ifwu wilt fall inio 
poverty^ or bodily mtschief^ and rwne wiU be able ic 
help thee^ or thmt luilt fall into secret Umptaitons 
and ilimiom of the d<vil, that then shoil not be 
abU to help thyself \ for it is very dangerous for imy 
"man to give himself over to the love of God^ and 
leave all the worlds and covet nothing but only the hvc 
of Him. For lltat many perils -may fall out Uiol a 
wan knows nat of and therefore turn home ^gath, 
and leave off this desire, for tltou shall never bring 
it to pass, and do as otiier worldly men do. 

Thus will thy enemies say, but believe them 
not, but hold on thy desire, and ^^y naught else ; 
but that thou wouldst have Jesus, and be at 
yerusaUm : and if they jjerceive that thy will is 
so strong-, that thou wilt not give o\'er, neither 
for fear of sin, nor of sickness, for fancies nor for 
frenzies, for doubts nor for dreads of spiritual 
leroptations, for mischiefs nor for poverty, for 
life nor for death, but ever seekest and longest 
after one thing, and nothing else but that one 
thing, and turnest a deaf ear to them, as though 
thou heardest them not, and boldest thee on stiffly 
and constantly in tby couraeof prayefraud in thy 

The Second Boofc 


T/ie /vuf/h 

Other spiritual exercises without slinting^, but yet 
with discretion, after the counsel and directions 
of thy Superior, or of thy g-hostly Father, then 
beg-in tbey to be wroih, and to come a little 
nearer to theo. Then they begin to rob thee 
and beat Ihee^ and do thee all the shame that //w/i^i* 
they can, and that is, when they make that all 
the deeds that thou doest, be the}- never so well 
done, are judged by others to be evil, and turned 
into the worse part^ And whatsoever thou 
wouldst do, or have done for the help or com- 
fort of thy body or souJ, it shall be letted or 
hindered by other men, so that thou shalt be 
put from thy wid in everything which thou 
reasonably desirest. And all this they do, that 
thou mayest be stirred up to ang-er, or melan- 
cholv, or evil will against thy neighbour. But 
ag-alnst all these diseases, and all other that 
ihou mayest feel, use this remedy. Take Jesus 
into thy mind, and trouble not thyself with them, 
nor be angry ; tarr>' not with them, but think on 
thy lesson ; T/iai Ihoti- ar£ nofhmgi that tkou hasi 
ncthtng, that thou const- nothing lose of mrlhly 
goodst thai thou coTJcicsi nothing but the iovo 0/ 
Jesits; and hold on tliy \\s.\', with thy exercises, 
to ^crtisatcfn. And though thoti bo sometimes 
tarried and letted in thy wavt through thy frailty, 
with such inconveniences as befall thy bodily life, 
through evil will of man, or malice of the enemy ; 
as soon as thou canst, come again to thyself, leave 
off the thinking of thy inconveniences^ and go on 
with thy exprcisCH Abide not long upon the 
thinking of those thy defects for fear of thy 

And after this, when they see that thou art so 
well willed, that thou art not angjy, nor heavy, 
nor wroth, nor much moved against any creature 



The Scale of Perfection 

for aught thai they can do or say agriin^t thee, 
but settest thy heart fully to suffer all that may 
fall, ease or unease, praise or dispraise, and 
that thou dost esteem or regard nothing 30 that 
thou mayest keep thy thought and thy desire 
whole to the love of God, then are they much 
abashed. But then will they set upo^T thee with 
flattery and vain pleasing; and that is when 
they set before thee all thy good deeds and 
virtues, and tell thee ihat all men praise thee 
and speak well of thy holiness, and how all 
men love thee and worship thee for thy holy 
living. Thus will thy enemtes do^ that thou 
mayest believe them, and take delight in this 
vain joy, and rest therein. But if Ihou do well 
thou shalt esteem all such janglings and sug- 
gestions to he false flattering-s of thy enemy, 
that profFereth thee to drink venom tempered 
with honey, and therefore refuse it, and say 
thmi tinit have von€ of it^ hut thou wmildst be at 

Such lettings shalt thou feel, or the like, what 
from thy flesh, and what from the world, and 
what of the fiend, more than I can rehearse* 
Now for as long as a man suffereth his thoughts 
■willingly to run about the world in beholding 
of sundry things, he pereeiveth few letlin^S' 
But as soon as he drcweth nil his lhought:i and 
his yearnings to one thing only, to have it. to 
know it, and to love it, which is Jesus ; then 
ahaU he feel many painful letiingsi for wliatso- 
ever thing he feeleth which is rot that which 
he coveteth, that same thing is a letting to 
him. Therefore I have sec down some of tliem 
for examples in particular. And moreover in 
general, 1 shall now tell thee that whatsoever 
stirritig thou feelest of the flesh, or of the fiend, 

either pleasant or painful, bitter or sweety lovely 
or dreadful, gladsoine or sorrowful, that would 
draw down thy ihoug^hts or thy desires from the 
love of Jesus to iroridly vanities, and would 
hinder or cool thy spiricual covetousnesa that 
ihou hast to the love of Him, and would have 
thy hoari to bo occupied with that stirring and 
rest upon it, set it at naught, entertain it not 
willing'ly, tarry noc therewith too long. But 
if it be any worldly thing' that is necessary 
to be done, for thyself or thy neighbour, dis- 
patch it, and quit thee soon of it, and bring it 
to an emi that it hang not on thy heart. But 
if it be another thing that may be spared and 
is not very needful, or else concerns thee not, 
heed it not, jangle or dally not therewith, nor 
trouble or vex thyself about it, fear it not, like 
it not, but oast it out of thy heart speedily, and 
say thus; / am twthin^^ I have noihtng-^ I seek 
tu)T coveC naihing htd the liwe of ^csas. Fasten 
thy thoughts to this desire and strengthen it, 
and raaintEiin it by prayer and other spiritual 
exercises that thou forget it not, and it shall 
lead thee in the right way, and save thee from 
till dangers; that [hough thou feel them thou 
shait not perish, and 1 hope that it shall bring 
thee to the perfect love of our Lord Jesus. 

NeverthtlesE on the other side, I say also, 
what work or what itirring it is that may help 
or strengthen or nourish thy desire, and draw 
th}' thoughts farthest from lust and the mind- 
ing of the worldf more entire and more burning 
to the love of God, whether it be praying, 
meditating, reading or hearing, solitariness or 
being in cotnpanv, silence or talking, going or 
sitting, hold to it for the time, and exercise 
thyself therein as long as any savour or relish 


The Scale of Perfection 

therein laateth. if it be so that thou take there- 
with meat, and drink, and sleep, as a pilgrim 
doth» and use discretion in liiy exerciseSj afier 
the advice and directions cf ihy superior. For 
a pilgrim, though he be in never so great haste 
in his journey, yet will he eat and drink and 
sleep. Do thou likew-ise; and lhon;^h it hiiider 
and stay ihee at one time, it shiill further ihee 
at another time. 


Of an «vil Day and a go^J Night, aad what they mfan, 
and hov/ ihc Love oE the World is lik^n^id to an 
evil Ddy, and the We of God to a gooJ Night 

If thou wouldst know then what this desirG is, 
verily it is Jesus, for I-Io worketli this desire 
in thee^ and gii/eih it thee; and He it is that 
desireth in thee, and He it is that is desired ; 
He is all, and He doth all, if thou coiildst see 
Him, Thou dost nothing, but sufferest Him to 
work in thy soul, and assentest to Him with 
great gladness of heart, that He will vouchsafe 
to do so in thee. Thou art nothing; else but a 
reasonahle instrument by which and in which 
He worketh ; and therefore when thou feelest 
ihy thoughts, through the touching of grace, 
taken up with the desire of Jesus, with a mitjhty 
devout will for to please Him and love Him, 
then think that thou hast Jesus, for He it is 
that thou desirest. Behold Him well, for Ho 
g-oeth before thee, not in bodily shape, but in- 
sensibly, by secret presence of Ills power 
Therefore see Him spiritually if thou canst, and 
fasten all thy thoughts and affections to Him, 
and follow Him wheresoever He goeth: foi He 

The Second Book 


will lead ihee the right way to JcrusaUm^ thai is 
to the sight of peace and contemplation. Thus 
prayed the Profhcf to the Father of Heaven, 
saying-: Scf^d out Thy light and Thy imth (that ftnftw iliL 
is Thy Son Jesus;, and tie sfmil lead me (by de- 
sire in me) io Ihy fwly hill and to Thy tabernacles. 
That is to the feeJing of pertect love and height 
of Conieiiipiatiim. 

Of this desire the Prophet fsatas speaketh 
thus: Mcmoriak tuum^ ^c. hord Jesus, the /jmWmv'u 
temtmhruTuc of Thee ts imprinted in the destre 
of my sout, for my soul hath desired Thee in ths 
night, and my spirit hath coveted 'ihce in all its 
thottghfs. Tlie Prophet saith he desired God all 
io the night, being a space betwixt two days ; for 
when one day is ended another day beginnethnot 
presently, but first cometh night which parteth 
the days, being someiimes long and sometinies 
short, and then after that cometh another day. 
The Prophet nieaneth not only of this manner 
of night, but he meaneth a spiritual right. Thou 
shalt undtffJitand that tlicre be two days or two 
lights. The first is a false lights the second 
a true light. The false light is the love of thia 
world, which a man hath in himself through 
the corruption of nature. The true light is the 
perfect love of Jesus fell through e[race in a 
man's soul. The love of this world is a false 
light, for it passeth away and lasteth not, and so 
it pErformcth not that which it promlseth. This 
light did the enemy promise to Adam when 
he stirred him to sin, and said thus; y'our eyes 
shall be opened^ and ye skull be as gods. And 
therein he said truth. For when Ad<ifn had 
sinned, forthwith his inner eye was shut, and 
spiritual light withdrawn, and his outward eye 
was opened, and he felt and saw a new light 


The Scale of Perfection 

of fleshly liking- and worldly love which he 
saw not before. And so saw he a new day, 
but this was an evil day, for this was it that 
/ffbuU Job cursed* when he said thus: Let the iiay 
ptrt'sh ^herttn I was born. He cursed not the 
day running on in the year which God made, 
but he curbed this day whirh nian made, that 
is the concupiscence and the love of this world 
in the which he was born, though he felt it 
not. That day and that Hght he aj^ked of 
God that it might perish and last no longer. 
But the everlastings love of Jesxfs H a true 
day and a blessed light ; for God is both love 
and light, and He is everlasting, as Si yohn 
tSe/ahnU saith I //c that lovetk God d'.veikik in tht light. 
And now, what man perceiveth and seeth the 
love of this world to be false and failing", and 
therefore will forsake it and seek the love of 
Jesus, yet may he not for ail ih.nt presenily 
fee! the love of Him, but he must abide awhile 
in the night, far he cannot sitddenly come 
from that one light to that other, that is from the 
love of the world to perfect love of God. Thfs 
nitrht is nought else but a forbearing and a 
withdrawing of the thought and of the soul 
from earthly things by great dfsire and yearn- 
ing for to love and see and feeL Jesus and 
spiritual things. This is the ni^ht; for even 
as the night is dark, and doth bide all bodily 
things, and a lime of ceasing from all bodily 
works ; even so a man that setieth himself fiilly 
to think on Jesus, and to de&ire only the love 
nf Him, 13 careful to hide his thoughts from 
vain beholding and perceiving, and his affec- 
tions from fleshly liking and loving of all 
bodiJy creatures, whereby his thoughts may 
become free and not be subject, nor his afiec-* 

The Second Book 


tions bound or pinned to, or troubled with 
anything lower or worse than himself. And 
if he come lo this pass then is it night with 
him, for then he is in darkness. But this is 
a good night and a light darkness, for it is a 
stopping out of the faise love of this worlds 
and it is an approaching: of the true day» And 
verily the darker that this night is the nearer 
is the true day of the love of Jesus; for the 
more that a soul can, thTOUgh longing after God, 
be hid from the noise* and stirrings of fleshly 
affections and unclean thoughts^ the nearer is 
5he to feel the light of the love of Htm, for 
it is even at her. Thus seemeth the Prcphei 
to mean, when he saith '- When I ^it in dark" 
ness cur Lord is my it^hi. That is, when my 
tjoul is hid from all stirrings of sin as it were 
in sleep, then is our Lord my light, for then 
approachelh He by Ilia grace to show me His 
light, nevertheless this niglit is somfitime pain- 
ful. As first, when a man is very foul, and is 
not used through grace to be often in this 
darkness, but would fain have it, and be in it, 
and therefore he setteth Iiis thoughts and his 
desires to Godward as much as he can, he 
would not feel nor think but only of Him, and 
because he cannot easily ha^'e it, therefore it 
15 painful for the custom and familiarityt that 
he hatii formerly had with the sins of the 
world, and of fleshly affections and earthly 
things; and his daily ficshly deeds press so 
upon him, and continuallv strike in, and 
throug-h force draw down the soul to them^ 
that he catinot well be hid from ihem so soon 
as he would. Therefore this darkness is pain- 
ful to hjrn, and rapeciaHy >-hen grace toucheth 

. * Dia, t HtiPicli4C^*< 


The Scale of Perfcctioo 

him not abundantly, instilling some extraor- 
dinary devotion into him- Nevertheless if it 
be so with thee, be not too sad or heavy for 
it, nor strive much as though thoti wouJdst by 
force drive them out of lliy thoughts, for thou 
canst not do 50; but do thou rather expect 
grace> suffer quietlVf and force not thj^self too 
much. But slyly Jif thou canst] draw thy de- 
sire and spiritual eye to Jesus, as if thou didst 
not care for them. For i:e thou assured, when 
thou wouldest desire Je^us, and think only of 
Him, and thou art not able freely to do so, 
for the pressing' in of such worldly thoughts, 
thou art certainly comings out of the fal&e day 
and art entering into this darkness. But thv 
darkness Ls not restful, not quiet to thee by 
reason of thy uncleanness and unacquainted- 
ness with it, and therefore use it often, and in 
process of time through feeling of grace it wilt 
be more ea^y and more restful to thee, and 
that is when thy soul throug-h grace is made 
so free, and so able and so good and so 
gathered into itself that ic li.^teth to think on 
just nothing-, then is it in a good darkness. This 
•nothing 1 mean thus: that a soul may through 
grace be gathered irto itself freely and wholly, 
and not be driven against its will, nor drawn 
down by force for to think, or like, or love 
with cleaving of affection to any sin, or any 
earthly thing vainly, then thinketh the soul 
Just nought, for then it thinketh of no earthly 
thing cleavingly. This is a rich nought, and 
this nought and this night is a great ease to 
the soul that desireth the love of Jesus, it is in 
ease as to the thoughts of any earthly thing, 
nevertheless it is full busy to think on Him. 
What thing then maketh this darkness ? 

The Second Book 


Verily nought else but a gjacious desire to 
have the love of Jesus, for that desire and that 
longing: that it hath at that time to the love of 
God, for to see Him and have Him, driveth out of 
the heart all worldly vanities and fleshly affections, 
and gatherelh tlie soul into itaclf, and busielh il 
only in thinking how it may come to the love 
of Him, And at that time she may freely and 
devoutedly behold Jesus, whether she would pray 
or meditate, and so it bringeth her to this right 
•nothing: and verily it is not altogether dark 
nor nothing- when it thinketh thus; for though 
it be dark from false light, it is not altogether 
dark from the true llffhi. For Jesus, that is 
both love and li^fht, is in this darkness, whether 
it be pamful or restful. If it be painful, then 
is Jesus in the soul, as travelling in the desire 
and longing after light, but He is not yet as 
resting- in love, nor as showing His light. And 
therefore it is called night and darkness, inas- 
much as the soul is hid from the false lig-ht of 
the world, and hath not yet a full feeling of 
true light, but is in expecting of that blessed 
lo\"e of God which it desireth. 

Therefore if thou wouldst know when thou 
art in this secure darknessi and when not, 
thou mayest try it thus, and seek no further. 
When thou feelest thy inient and thy will fully 
set for tc desire God, and think only on Him, 
thou mayest, as it were, at firi^t ask thyself in 
thy own Ihouq-hts whether Ihou covetest to have 
anything of this life for love of the thing itself, 
or for to have the using of any of thy bodily 
senses in any creature. And then if the eye 
answer then thus; I "mould S€€ fust noUi tug; and 
thy mouth: / Wintld savour fust noihuif; and 
thine ear: / wctdd /soir j'usf nfflhing; and thy 

The Scale of Perfection 

body: I would fed just nothing; and after ihatj 
thy heart say : / ^'ouid think just nothing of 
earthly things, twr of bodily d^ris, fwr zuimid A*jw 
my affections fastaicd fiesh/y to any crc(Uutc but 
mtiy in God and to Gud'^vards, if I cmild; and 
when they all answer thus to lliee. and do it iuU 
readily, being touched by grace, then art thou 
entered somewhat into ihir% darkness. For though 
mthal thou feel and perceive within thee the 
presentations and profTerings of vain thoughts, 
and pressing in of fleshly affections i ncverth^ 
less thou art in this profitible darkness, if it be 
so that thy thoughts be not fixed to ihem ; for 
^uch vain imaginations that fall into the hean 
unadvisedly! they trouble indeed this darkness, 
and somewhat molest the soul because it \voidd 
he hid from them, but cannot ; but they do not 
take away the profit of this darkness, for tlio soul 
shall by this means in time come to reslful dark- 
ness. And then is this darkness restful when the 
soul is hid for a time from the painful feeling of 
all such vain thoughts, and is rested only in the 
ilesire and loneing after Jesus, with a spiritual 
beholding' of Him, as it shall be said hereafter ; 
but this lastelh whole and entire but a short time, 
yet though it be but for a short time, yet it is hill 



How that the Desire of Jesus it\t ifl this lightsome 
Darkness ahyeth a11 Motions of Sin^ anJ cnableth 
the Soul to perceive spirilual Liahlmngs from llie 
heavenly Jerusalem, ihal is, Jesus 

-Seetxg then this darkness and this night con- 
sisting only in the desire and longing after the 
love of Jesos wilh a blind thinking on Him, is so 
4jood and so restful, though it be but short, how 

The Second Book 


good then, and how bleaaed it is to feci His love, 
and to be illuminated with His blessed invisible 
light thercb}" to see the truth, the which li^ht 
a soul receiveth wlien the night passeth, and tht? 
day springeih. 

This I conceive was the night that the Prophd 
meant wher he said : My soul hnth dnind Thee 
tn ihe ntglit, as I have said before. It is much 
betier to be hid in this dark night frcirn beholding 
of the world/ thoug:h it were painful, than to be 
out in false likirg of this world, which seemeth 
so shining, and so comfortable to them that are 
blind in the knowledge of spiritual light i for 
when thou art in this darkness, thou art much 
nearer Jcrusakm than when thou art in the 
midst of the false light. Therefore apply thy 
heart fully to the stirrings of grace, and use thy- 
self to dwell in this darkness, and by often essay- 
ing 10 be acquainted therewith, and it shall soon 
be made restful to thee, and the true light of 
spiritual knowing shall spring up to thee^ not all 
at once, but secretly by little and little, as the 
Pr&pfi^i sailh ; Tq them thai dweli in lii€ country ^sa. 
of the sfmdffm of d^ath light tn sprung up. That 
is, light of grace springeth, and shall spring ta 
all them that can dwell in the shadow of death; 
that is in this darkness which is like to death; 
for as death slayeth a living body and all its 
flexibly senseSf right so the desire of the love 
of Jesus felt in this darkness slayeth all sins* all 
fleshly affections, and all unclean thoughts for 
the time, and th^n dost thou, hasten to draw near 
to yerusaiem. Thoti art not there yet, but by 
some small sudden lighinin^rs that glide out of 
small caves from that cityi shalt thou be able to 
see it afar off ere thoa come to it, for know thou 
well, though that thy soul be in this rest/ul dark- 

* CiuyJi- r^n^^Erii^ ill (uccat ducnus. 


The Scale of Perfection 

£mv. kI, 

ness without the trouble of worldly vanities, it is 
not yet clothed all in light, nor turned all into 
the fire of love. But it perc^^iveth full well that 
there is somewhat above itself that it knowelh 
not. nor hath not yet, but would bave it, and 
burningly yesrneth after it, and that is nought 
else but the sitrht of ytrnisnifiru outwardly, which 
U like to a city which th^i Prophet £z£chtf£ saw in 
his visions, He saith that he saw a city upon 
a hill towards the south, that to his sight when it 
was measured was no more in length and breadth 
than a reed, that is six. cubits and a palm of 
length. But as soon as he wa& brought into the 
city, and looked about him, then he saw that it 
was wondrous great, for he saw many halls, and 
chambers both open and secret ; he saw gates 
and porche^i without and within, and many more 
building's than I now speak of, and it was in 
length and brendlh many hundred cubits, that it 
seemed a wonder to him that this city was so 
long and so large within, that seemed so little 
to his sight when he was without. 

This city bet*>kenetli the perfect love of God 
set upon the hill of Contemplation, which to \\\v. 
sight of a soul that without the feeling of 
it iravelleth in desire towards it seemetb 
somewhat, but it seemeth but a little thingi 
no more than a rood, that is, six cubits and a 
palm of length. By six cubits are understood 
the perfection of man's work; and by the palm, 
a little touch of CQutcmpfatwn. He seeth well 
that there is such a thing that passeth the de- 
servings of all the workings of man, IJlce as a 
palm is surpassed by sitc cubits, but he seeth 
not within what it is, yet if he can come within 
the city of Contemplation, then seeth he much 
more than he saw at first* 

The Second Book 



How a Man shall know fals* lliuminationa, thai »re 
feigned by the Enemy, irorri ihc true Light cjf 
knowiog that cometh out cf Jeaua» aiid by wb^t 

But now beware of the midday fiend that 
feigneth light as if it came out of Jerusalevij 
and Ls not so; for the fiend seeth that our 
Lord Jesus ahowcth iight to His lovers of 
truth ; therefore lor the deceiving of them that 
are unwise, he showeth a light that is rot true 
Tinder colour of a true light, and co^ereth them. 
Nevertheless^ how a soul may know the true light 
when it shineth from God, and when it is feigned 
by the enemy, shall 1 declare (as methinketh] by 
an example oi the Rrmament. 

Sometime the firmament showeth a light 
&om the sun, which secmeth to be the sun and 
is not; and sometimes showeth the true sun 
truly. To know the one from the other is thus; 
the feigned sun showeth himself otily betwixt 
two black rainy clouds ; and then because the 
sun is near, there shinelh out from the clouds 
a light as if it were a sun, but i s not- But the true 
bun showeth itself when the firmament is clear, 
or much cleared from black clouds. Now to our 
purpose. Some men, as it seems, forsake the 
love of the world and would come to the love of 
God, and to the light of understanding Him, but 
they would not come through thai darkness 
which I spake of before. They will not know 
themselves truly and humbly what they have 
been heretofore, or what they are yet through 
iin, nor how naught they are in their nature 


The Scale of Perfection 

ag-ainst God. They are not busy to enter into 
themselves, all other outward ihing;s being" left 
and flee all wicked stirrings that rise in their 
hearts of Pride, Envy, Anger^ or other sins 
through a lasting" desire to Jesua in praying 
and meditating'^ in silence, and in weeping, and 
in other corporal and spiritual exercises as de- 
vout and holy men have done. But as soon as 
they have forsaken the world, as it were out' 
wardly in appearance, or else soon after, they 
imagine that they are holy and able to have the 
spiritual understanding; of the Gospel and of holy 
Writ, and, namely, if they can liierally fulfil the 
commandments cf Grod and keep themselves from 
corporal sins, thi^n they imagine that they love 
God perfectl}'. And therefore they will presently 
preach and teach all other men, as if ihcy had re- 
ceived grace of understanding in perfecdon of 
charity through special gift of the Holy Ghost. 
And also they are much mcire stirreil, forasmuch 
as they feel sometimes much knowledge as it were 
suddenly g-iven to them without great aludy be- 
fore had, and also much fervour of love as ii 
seemeth for to preach truth and righteousness to 
their neighbour. Therefore they hold it as a 
grace of God that visitetb them with His blessed 
light above other souls* Nevertheless, if they 
will look well about them, they shall find that 
this light of knowledge and that fervour which 
they feel cometh not from the true Sun, which 
is our Lord Jesus, but cometh from the midday 
fiend that feigneth light, and likeneth him to the 
Sun, and therefore ahail he b& known by the 
foresaid example- 
Light of knowledge, that is feigned by the 
fiend to a dark soul, is showed betwixt two black 
rainy clouds. Whereof the upper cloud li pre* 

The Second Book 


sumption and exalting of himself, and the lower 
cloud is the down-putting- and disdaining of his 
neiiiihbour. Then whatsoever light of knowing 
or feeling of fervour it be that shineih to a soul 
with presumption anJ exalting of itself, and dis- 
dain of his neighbour felt at the same timej it is 
not the light of grace given of the Holy Ghost; 
although the knowledge in itself be true, but it 
is either from Che fiend, if it come suddenly, or 
else from a man's own wit if it come by study, 
and so it may easily bo known that this feigned 
light of knowing i& not the light of the tme Sun. 
Therefore, they that have this knowing on this 
manner are full of spiritual pride, and see it not; 
they are so blind with this feigned light that they 
hold the exalting of their own heart and their 
disobedience to the laws of holy Church as it 
were perlect humility to the &o&pel and to the 
]aws of Gad; and imagine that the following 
of their own will to be freedom of spirit. And 
thereupon they begin to rainj like bJack clouds, 
waters of errors and heresies ; for the words that 
they utter in preaching tend all to backbiting, 
and to strife and discord, reproving of States 
and of Persons ; and yet they say that all this 
is chanty and zeal of the truth. But it is not 
£o; for St Jnnus the Apostlff saith thus: Uhi 
zclus csi d cunkniio, &c. — Where atvy is and con- si 
ttnlimit ffiera is nnstahliiru^s and every evil wcrrk. 
And therefore that knowledge that bringeth 
forth such sins comdh not from (he Father of 
lights^ that (s God^ hut is earthly, beastly and 
dh^tUsh. And so by these tokens, namely, pride, 
presumption, disobedience, indignation^ back- 
biting and other such sins (for these follow 
;tfterj may the feigned light be known from the 
true. For the true Sun shineth not nor breaketh 

U ' 

/flMf J iir- 


The Scale of Perfection 

Pt. xcvl 

Maf, \\\ 

forth hy special visitation to pve Vight of under- 
standing' or perfect charity to a soul, unless the 
firmn.ment be first made brig-lit and clear &oni 
clouds; that is, unless the conscience be made 
clean throus^h tlie fire of burning desire to Jesus 
in this d:trkness wljich wasteth and bunieth up 
all wicked stirring-s of pride, vain-glory, wratb, 
envy and all other sins in the soul. A^ the /Vt^ 
f/ip£ saiih : /^nis afik ipsum procrdd^ &t^ — A fire 
shall gG ijs/orc him-, that is, desire of love shall 
go belore Jesus in man's 5du1» afid it shall bum 
all His enemies', that is, it shall waste all sins. 
For except a j^ouI be first smitten down from the 
height of itself by fear and humility, and be well 
tried and burnt in this fire of desire, and as it 
■werf purified from all spiritual fihli, through 
long' time in devout prayers and other spiritual 
exei'CLses, it is not able to bear the shinings of 
spiritual light nor to receive the precious liquor 
of perfect Idvo of Jesus, But when it is purified 
and made subtle through this fire, then may it 
receive the gracious light of spiritual knowing 
and the perfection of love, whic'n is the true Sun. 
Thus saith holy Writ i VMs qui h'rtjetis 
Deum^ &c. — The trta Sun of Rt^hfeouTrprss^ that 
is, our Lord Je^ius, shall sprifig (o ynu thai fear 
Him; that is, to humble souls that humble them- 
selves to their neighbour, through knowing of 
their own wretchedness, and cast themselves 
tlown under God by annihilating themselves in 
their own substance through reverent fear and 
spiritual beholding of Hira lastingly* for that 
is perfect humility. Unto these souls the true 
Sun shall spring, and enlighten their reason 
to the knowing of Truth, and kindle their 
affections \r\ tht f'lvour of love, and then shall 
they both burn and shine, namely, burn in perfect 

The Second Book 


]ove throu§-h the virtue of this heavenly Sun. 
and ^hintf in th*? knowledge of God and spiritual 
things, for then be they reformed in feelingf. 

Therefore, lie that would not be deceived, I 
think it is good for htm to draw down himself 
and hide himself in this darkness* First, from 
intermeddling with other men, as I have said, 
and iorg-et all the world if he can; and follow 
Jesus with constant tlesire offered up in prayers 
and meditating on Him. Ami then I believe 
the light that cometh after this darkness ia 
secure and true, and that it shineih out of the 
city of 'JcrusaUm from the true Sun to a soul 
that travelleth in darkness, and crieth after 
light for to show her the right way and com- 
fort her in travel. For I believe that after 
true darkness goirg- before feigned light never 
cometh. That is, if a man truly and fully set 
himself to forsake the love of the worli.!, and 
can through grace come to the feelini^ and 
knowing- of himself, and hold himself humbly 
in that feeling, he shall not be deceived with 
any errors nor heresies nor fancies ; for all 
these come in by the gate of pride. If then 
pride can be stopped out, there shall no such 
sin rest in a soul, and thouj^h they come and 
proffer themselves, thoy shall not enter ; for 
grace which the soul feeleth in this humble 
darkness shall leach the soul truth, and show 
it that all such profierings are from the enemy. 



The Scale of Perfection 


Howfrreal profit it 15 to the Soul lobe broustil throusH 
Grace into lishtsomf Darkness, and how a Maiv 
Bhail dispose himself If he will come thereio 

There be many devout souls that through grace 
come inCo this darlcness and feel the knowledge 
of themselves, and yet know they not fully what 
it is, and that ignorance is partly a hindrance to 
them, They feel well often their thoughts and 
their affections drawn out and separated from 
the minding of earthly tnings, and brought into 
great rest of a delectable softness, without pain- 
ful troubling of vain thoughis or of their bodily 
senses; and they feel that time so great a free- 
dom of spirit thai thev can Chink on Jesus peace- 
ably and offer up their Psalms and Pravers 
mightily, savourly and sweetly 10 Him, as long 
as frailty of bodily nature will suffer them. They 
understand well that this feeling is good, but 
they know not what it is. Therefore unto aH 
such souls I say, as methinketh, that this 
manner of feeling, though it be but short and 
but seldom, it is really this darkness that I 
speak of. For it is a feeling of themselves 
firsts and a rising above themselves through 
burning desire to the sight of Jesus; or else, 
if I shall say more truly, this gracious feeling 
is a spiritual sight of Jesus, And if they can 
keep themselves in that rest, or bring it through 
grace into a custom, so that thuy can litrhtly and 
freely have it when they listj and hold them- 
selves in it, they shall never be overcome by 
temptation of the fiend, nor of the flesh, nor by 
errors or heresies; for they are set in the gale 

The Second Book 


of Contemplaiion, able and ready to r«reive ibe 
perfect love of Je^us. Uherefore he Oiat hath 
it, it is good that he know it humbly, keep it 
tenderlyj and- pursue it fervently, that no creature 
let* him utterly frcm it, but that lie follow it 
when he may. Ard that he forget and set at 
nought all things that may put him from this, 
if so be, he be at his own Jiberty^ and may do 
what he will without scandal or offence to his 
neighbour. Foi I tliink that he cannot come 
to this rest lightly, unless he haili great plenty 
of grace and 5^t himself to follow the motions 
of grace, and that ought he to do; for grace 
would ever be free, namely, from sin and worldly 
business, and all nther things that let the work- 
ing of it, though they are not sins, 

Nevertheless, another soul that hath not yet 
received this plenty of grace^ if he desire to come 
to this spiritual knowing of Jesus, he must, as 
much as in him lieih, en-ible himself 10 it. and 
put away all lettin^s that obstruct grace as 
much as he can. He must truly learn to die 
to the world, and trulv forsake the love of it- 
First, pride, both iptntual and corporal, that 
he desire no worship, worldlv knowledge, nor 
worldly craft, profits, nor riches, nor precious 
clothing, nor worldly array^ nor anything by 
which he may be honoured above other men; 
he shall covet none of all llif?.se. But if they 
be put upon him, take them with fear, so that 
he be poor both outwanily and inwardly, or at 
least fully inwardly in liis heart. And that he 
covet to be forgotten of the world, and men re- 
gard him no more, though he be never .so rich or 
so A'ise, than the poorest man living. Also that he 
sufFereth not his heart torpst in the hehoMine- of 

• Hinder. 


The Scale oi Perfection 

his own deeds, or in his virt^ies, ima^iniriEr that 
he doth better than another, in that he forsaketh 
the world, which others do not, and theretbre he 
selieih welJ by himself Also he muii leave all 
rising's of heart, and evd will of anger and envy 
against bis neighbour. And that he oiFend no 
man, nor anger him indiscreetly by word or 
deed ; nor give any man occasion whereby ht 
may reasonably be angered, or moved, so thai 
he may be free from every man. And also that 
he forsake covetousness, that he covet right 
naught of earthly goods^ but only crave his 
bodily sustenance which he needech, and hold 
himself well apaid, when God stirreth up other 
men to give it him* And that he put no manner 
of trust in the possession of any worldly goods, 
nor in the help or favour of any worldly fnends, 
but principally and fully in God; for if he doth 
otherwise, he bindeth himself to the world, so 
that he cannot be free to think on Jesus. And 
also gluttony, and lechery, and all other fleshly 
uncleanness must he utterly leave, that his affec- 
tions be bound to no woman by fleshly familiarity; 
for it is no doubi but that such blind love as is 
sometime betwixt a man and a womeui, and 
seemeth good and honest, fora^smuch as they 
would not sin in act, is in the sight of God full 
unclean and very great sin- P'or it is a great 
sin for a man to suffer his affections, which 
should be fastened to Jesus and to all His vir- 
tues, and to all spiritual cleanness ^*^ ^^ bound 
by any fleshly love willingly to any creature, 
especially if it be sn much thai it beareth down 
his thoughts, and maketh them unreslful that he 
cannot have favour in God. And this I hold to 
be done willingly, when a man doth it, though he 
confess it to be a sin, or else when he is so blinded 

Th« Second Book 


with it that he will not see it. And also that 
a man covet rot delights of meats and drii>ks 
only for lust of his flesh, but be contented with 
such as he can easily have without trouble; 
namely, if he be in heallh with what meat will 
put away hunger, and keep his body in ordinary 
strength for the service of God, And that h© 
grudge not, nor strive not, nor vex himself for 
his meat, though sometime he be served not as 
his ilesh desires. All these sins and all other 
imisl he forsake utterly in his will, and in deed 
when he can; and all other thing's that hinder 
him, so that ht may dispose himself to think 
freely on Jesus. For as long- as these letiings 
and such other hang upon him, he cannot die 10 
the world, nor come into this darkness of knowing" 
of himself. And therefore that he may come 
thereto, he must do all these things, as Sf Paul Gat. v 
did, saying thus : TJti's Wi>r£d n slam and crtuifisd 
to 7Tic, arid I lo the wi/rid. Thai is, he that hath 
forsaken the love of the world in honours and 
riches and in all other worldly things abovesaid, 
for the love of God, and loveth it not, nor pur- 
sueth it, but is well satisfied that he hath right 
nought of it, nor verily would have thuugh he 
might, veniy to him the world is dead, lor he 
hath no favour nor delight therein. And if the 
world set him at nought, and hath no regard 
to him, nor favour, nor worship, and set no price 
by him, but forgetteth him as a dead man, then 
is he dead to the world. And in this pligfht was 
St Paul set perfectly, and so must every other 
man in part that would come to the perfect love 
of God ; for he cannot live to God fully, unless he 
die first to the world. This dying to the world is 
this darkness, and it is the gate to Contemplation, 
\ and to reforming in feeling, and none other than 


The Scale of Pcrfcclcon 

this. There may be many sundiy ways, and 
several works letting and leading sundry souls 
to ConlempUlion i for according lo divers dis- 
posings of mi-n, and after divers states as are 
religious and seculars, according as tliey are in, 
arc there divers exercises in working. Never- 
theless there is hut one gate; for whatsoever 
exercise a soul useth, unless thereby he come 
to this knowing, and to an humble fee^ling of 
himself, and that is, that he be mortified and 
dead to the worlJ, as to his love of it, and 
that he may feel himself sometime in this rest- 
ful darkness, by the which he may be hid from 
the vanities of the world, as to the love of them, 
and that he may feel himself what he is indeed, 
he is not yet come to the reforming in feelings 
nor hath he Contemplation fully. He is full far 
from it, and if he will come to it by any other 
gate, he is but a thief and a breaker of the wall, 
and therefore siiall be cast out as unworthy. 

But he that can bring himself lirst to nought 
by the grace of humility^ and die on this manner, 
he is in the gale ; for he is d^ad to the worlds and 
he liveth to God. Of the which St Paul speak- 
Wflj, \i\. eth thusi PV art d€ad. That is, ye that for the 
love of God forsake all the love of the world, are 
dead to the world, and Yuur Ufa is hid witft Christ 
in God. That is, ye live spiritually in the love of 
Jeaus, But your Jife is hid from worldly men, as 
Christ liveth, find is hid in His Godhead from the 
love and the sight of fle^hlv lovers. 

This gate our Lord Himself showed in the 
Ciosppl, when Hg said Thus : Evciy mart thai for- 
sakefk for My love F-itft^r cr Motfw^ Sis/t-r &r 
BroihcVy or ct'y ear! tly gomlt he sh>ili h'lze an 
hundredfold in S^n's liU, artd afiem}a--d the bliss 
of Hgave/K This hundredfold which a soul &hall 

St M«it Kis. 

The Second Book 


havo, if he forsake the world, is nought but the 
profit of ihih lightsome darkness, which I call 
the gate of Cofift-mf>/iifw7i. For he that U in this 
darkness, and is hid through grace from worldly 
vanitj% he coveteth nothing of worldly goods, he 
seeketh it not, he is not hindered therewith, he 
looketh notaftrr it, he lovelli it not, and therefore 
hath he an hundredfold more than the King^ or 
than he that covt^teth most of worldly goods, for 
he that coveteth nought but Jesus hath an 
hundredfold, for he haih more rest, more peace 
in heart, more true love and delight in soul in 
one day, than ho that most coveteth of this world, 
and hath all the wealth of it in his full possession, 
hath all his life-time. 

This is, then, a good darkness, and a rich 
nought, that bringeth a soul to so much spiritual 
ease, and so quiet softness, I suppose David 
meant of this night, or this nought, when he 
said thus : Ad nthilnm redtutns sum^ et fuscivi — /»r. UxiL 
I was brought io iwnght^ mtd I knew t£ not. That 
is, the grace of our Lord Jesus sent into my 
heart haih slain in me, and brought to nought 
all the love of the world, and I knew not how, for 
not through any working of my own, nor by my 
own wit had I it, but by the grace of our Lord 
Jesns, And therefore mcthinkeCh that he that 
would have the light of grace, and sweetly feel 
the love of Jesus in his soul, he must forsake all 
the false light or worldly love, and abide in this 
darkne^is. And, nevertheles*, if he be fearful, 
at first to continue therein, he must not turn 
again to the love of the world, but suffer awhile, 
ani put all his hope and his trust in Jesus, and 
he shall not be long without some spiritual light. 
Thus the Prophtl commandeth: Qui cmbulai tit Jtaittsix. 
tenebm, &c. — JJc (hat walkcth in darkness and 


The Scak of Perfection 

hrjfh Tio light. Id him hope in our Lord^ and le£ him 
rely ufcn his God. lliat is, whoso would hide 
himself froai llie love of the world, and cannot 
readily feel the light of spiritual love, let him not 
despair, nor turn ag-ain to Che worlds but hope in 
tiur Lord, and rely upon Him ; that is^ trust In 
God, and clcavo to HLm by desire, and abide 
awhile, and he shiill have light. For it falleth 
out therein as it doth when a man hatli been a 
great ■while in the sun, and after that cometh 
suddenly into a dark house where no sun shineth, 
he will be as it were blind, and see just nought. 
But if he will abide awhile, he shall be able 
presently to see about him; first great things, 
and then small things, and afterwards all that is 
ever in the house. Just so is it spiritually : he 
that forsakcth tiie love of the world, and cometh 
to himself into his own conscience, at first it is 
somewhat dark and blind to his sight ; but if he 
stand stilU and hold nut by serious praying, and 
often meditating in the same will to the love of 
Jesus, he shall be able afterwards to see both 
great and small things which he knew not before. 
This it secmeth the Prsphtt promtseth when he 
/«!. hnil. saith thus: Oriciur in Unebris lux tua^ &€. — /« 
darkness shall Ihy light spring w/, and thy darkfiess 
sJmll be tfj w ^fi-day. and Iky L&rd God shall give 
thae rest, and shall Jill thy soul -ajith lights. That 
is, thou that truly forsaketh the light of all worldly 
love, and hidest thy thought in this darkness, 
light of blessed love and spiritual knowing of 
God shall sprint^ up to thee, and thy darkness 
shall be as midday ; that is, thy darkness of 
painful de.sire, and thy blind Iru^t in God, that 
thou hast at first, shall turn into clear knowledge, 
and into security oHove, and thy Lord God shall 
give rest to thee ; that is, thy fleshly desires, and 


The Second Book 


ihy painful fears and doubtSj and wicked spirits 

that have before lime vexed thee, all these shall 

grow weak, and lose much of their might, and 

Ihou Shalt be made so strong that they shall not 

trouble thee, for thou shalt be hid in rest irom 

Ibern. And thf?n shall our Lord fulfil thy soul 

with shinings ; that is, when thou art brought 

into this spiritual rest, then shalt thou more 

easily attend to God, and do nought else but 

love Him, and then shall He fill all the powers 

of thy soul with beams of spiritual light. Wonder 

not that I call tlic forsaking- of worldly love a 

darkness, for the FrophEi talleth it so, saying 

thus to a soul '.—Infni tn Urubras tuas filia Vhal- /j„,-„ ^]^^i_ 

d(£arum — Go ifiia thy darkness, thou daughter of 

C ha Idee ^ That is, thou soul that art as a 

daughter of Chaldet through love of this world, 

forsake it, and gD into thy darkness. 


Thil the forking of our Lord Jceu« in the Reforming 
oE A ScuU 13 divided into four times, which arei 
Calling^ >uslifying. Magnifying and Gloriiyiog 

I^, I have told thee a little, hew, if thou covet 

to be reformed in feeling, thou shalt dispose 

thyself towards thy forihgoing. Nevertheless I 

do not say that thou canst do thus of thyself i 

for I know well that it is our Lord Jesus that 

bringeth all this to the end where He pleaseth. 

For He only, through Ili,^ grace* sllrreth up a 

jioul, and bringeth it first into this darkness and 

then into light, as the Prophd saith: SictU te- Pt. ckxxvIiL 

7iehra* ejus, sta e£ iumtn eju^. That is, just 

as the light of knowing and the feeling of 

spiritual love is from Jesus, just ^o the dark- 


The Scale of Perfection 

ness, that is, the forsaking of worldly love, is 
from Him, for He doth all. He fomitth and 
reformeth. He formeth only by Himself, bur 
He reformeth us with us; for grace given, ard 
the applying our will to grace doth work all 
this. And io what mannnr this is done, Sf 
'jfom.vhi. Ptiui rehearses thus: Quos Ot^us ^nrsaz'tf, <^c. — 
T^hase Tofiom God foreknew shuuid be madt csn- 
formablc io the Ima^e of Hts S<?/i, thof^e He called; 
and ivhorn He calUd thost He justified; and wham 
He justified those He glorified. Though these 
words may be understood of all chosen souls 
in the Icwest degree of charity, who are re- 
formed only in faith ; nevertheless they may- 
be understood more especially of those souls 
that are reformed in feeling, to whom our Lord 
God showelh great plenty of grace, and is much 
more busy about them ; for they are in a special 
manner His own children, who bear the full 
shape and the likeness of His Son Jesus. In 
these words iS'/ Paul dividetli the working of 
our Lord into four times. 

The first is the time of calling of a soul from 
worldly vanity, and that time is often easy and 
comfortable; for in the beginning of turning 
such a man that is disposed to much grace, is 
so quickly and so feelingly inspir^^d, and feeleth 
often so great sweetness of devotion, and hath 
so many tears in compunction that he think^th 
sometimes that he is half in Heaven; but this 
ease passeth away after for a lime. And then 
Cometh the s^-cond time, namely, the lime of 
jt£s/f/yir/^y which is laborious. For when he 
beginneih to go fonh mightily in the waiV of 
righteousness, and seiteth his will fully against 
all sin outward and inward, and siretcheth out 
his desires to virtues and to the love of Jesus, 

The Second Book 


then feeleth he much letting: both within him- 
self from the frowardness and hardness of his 
own will, and from without throug-h the tempta- 
tion of his enemy, that he is oft in full great 
torment, and that is no wonder : for he hath 
so long- been crooked towards the false love 
of the world, that he cannot be made straight, 
as a crooked staff cannot be made even, unless 
it be cast and wrought by the fire* Therefore 
our Lord Jesus, knowing what is fit for a fro- 
ward soul, suffereth it to be tormented and 
letted by sumlry tf-mptations, and to be tried 
soundly by spiritual tribulations that all the 
rust of UEicltjanness may be burnt out of itn And 
this shall be done both inwardly with fears and 
doubts and perplexities that it shall almost fall 
into despair, and shall seem as ir were forsaken 
of God, and wholly left in the hands of the fiend 
(saving only a little secret trust that it shall 
have in the goodness and mercy of God, for 
that secret trust our Lord leaveth in such a 
soul, though he go never so far from it, by 
the which the souL is borne up from despair, 
and saved from spiritual mischief], and out- 
wardly also it shall be mortified and pained 
in tb(? sensuality, either by divers stcktiesses, 
or by feeble torm^^ntings of the enemy; or else 
by a secret working of God the silly soul 
through feeling and bearing of the wretched 
body shall be so pained that it shall despair 
almost of suflTerin^ or continuing" in the body, 
unless our Lord Himself keep it therein, And 
yet, notwithstanding, the soul had rather be in 
all this pain than to be blinded with the false 
love of the world, for that would be hell to 
such a soul; but the suffering of this man- 
ner of pain iii only Purgatory, and there- 

I Jll^t. VL 


The Scale of Perfection 



fore he suffereth it gladly. And he would 
not put it away thuugli he might, because it 
is so profitable. All this doth our Lord in 
great profit to a soul to drive It out of its 
sensuality, that it may receive spiritual light; 
for after this, when a soul is thus mortified, 
and brought from worldly love into this dsu-k- 
ness, that it hath no more savour nor delight 
of worldly liking than of a straw^ but thinketh 
it bitter as worm^vood, then cometh the third 
time of Ml} unifying : and tlial is, when a soul 
is reformed in feeling' in part, and receiveth 
the gift of pcrfccuon^ and the grace of Con- 
templation, and ihat is a time of great rest; 
for llien r^ Je^u^ more familiar with a soul. 

And after tliis cometh a fourth time of Giori- 
fying; that \% when a soul shall be fully re- 
lormcd in the bliss of heaven. For these souls 
that are thus called from sin, and thus Jusdfied^ 
or else on any other manner by divers trials 
both through fire and water, and afterwards 
are thus m^gnilied, they shall be glorified, For 
our Lord shall then give them fully what they 
roveted here ; and more than they could covet ; 
for He shall raise them above all other chosen 
souls, to bG equal with cherubim and seraphim, 
seeing* thev passed all other in knowing and 
loving of txod here in this life. 

Therefore he that will come to this magni- 
fying must not be afraid of this justifying, for 
that is the way ; for our Lord sailh by His 
Prophet a word of great comfort to all such 
souls that are tried with the fire of tribulation 
'/«i»xliiiH thus E Puer mois noli Umere, df^c—A/y child, 
if ihoH pass ihritugh ftn fear not^ Jor ihe fl<im€ 
shall rot hurl thee^ It shall cleanse thee from 
all fleshly fihh, and make thee able to receive 


The Second Book 


spiritual fire of the love of God, and this must 
first be done; for as I said before it cannot 
othenviae be reformed in feeling. 


How it fdll^th oiJl sometimes th^il Souls (fiat itt but 
beginning or profiling in Grace seem to have 
more Love, as to oulwirJ lokena thereof^ than 
Home have (hat be perfect, and yet il is not re^y 
BO id chetr Inlerior 

But now thou wilt say, how can this be true? 
For there be many souls newly turned to God 
that have many spiritual ieclings ; some have 
great compunction for their sin'*, and some have 
great devotions and fervours in their prayers, 
and often have sundry teacliirgs of spiritual 
light in understanding", and some men have 
other kind of feelings of comfortable heat and 
great sweetness ; and yet thE?se souls never come 
fully into this restful darkness, which I speak of. 
\i-ith fervent desire and la^^ting love and thought 
on God, And herejpon thou ask^^st whether 
these houls be reformed in feeling or no. And 
il seemeth yes, iriasmuch as they have such great 
spiritual feelings, which other men who stand 
only in faith feel not. 

Unto this I answer, as methinketh, that these 
spiritual feelings, whether thpy ^tand in com- 
punction or devotion, or in spiritual imagination, 
are not the feelings which a soul shall have and 
feel in the grace of Covkmpiatmi. I say not but 
that they are true and graciously given of fiod. 
But these souls that feel such are not yoC re- 
formed in feeling, nor have as yet the gift of 
perfection nor the spiritual burning love of Jesus 


The Scale of Perfect!* 

as they may arrive to. And nevertheless, k often 
seemeth otherwise, that such souls feel more of 
the Icve of God than others that ha;'e the gift 
of pc-ifeclion, inasmuch as the feeling showeth 
more outwardly by great fervour of bodily tokens 
in weepings praying, kneeling and speaking, and 
other bodiJy stirrings, so far forth that it seemetK 
to another man rhat they were even ravisht-d in 
love. Though J, for my part, do not think them 
so, fcr I will understand that these kind of feel- 
ings and fervours of devotion and compunction 
that these men feel are gracious gifts of God sen 
into chosen sovils to ilraw them out of worldl 
love and fleshly lust, which hath long time be 
rooted in their hearts, from the which love they 
would not be drawn out but by such feeble ro 
tions of great fervours. 


And the reason why this fervour is so niuc 
in outward showing is not only frcm the great- 
ness of that love which they have, but from th 
Iitt]enes5 and weakness of their soul, that cannot 
bear a little touching of God ; for it U yet, as it 
were, fleshly, fastened to the flesh, and never was 
yet parted from it by spiritua.1 mortification ; and 
therefore the least touching of love, and the least 
sparkle of spiritual light sent from Heaven into 
such a soul is so much and so comfortable and 
so delectable above all the likings that ever it 
feic before in fle&hly love of earthly things, that 
she is, as it were, overcome with it. And also 
it is so new and so sudden and so unaccustomed 
to her that she is not able to bear it. but bnrstcth 
and breaketh out into werping-. sobbing and other 
bodily stirrings. Just as a barrel that is old, 
when it reccivcth new wine thai is fresh and 
strong, the barrel swelleth out and is ready to 



The Second Book 


cleave and burst until the wine hath boiled and 
purged out all uncleanness ; but as soon as the 
wine is hned and cleared, then it standeth aiill 
and the barrel whole; just so a soul that is old 
throug'h sin, when it recelveth a little of the love 
of God, which is so fresh and slrong^ that the 
body is in point to cleave and to break were it 
not that God keepeth it whole* But yet it bursc- 
eth out at the eyes by weeping, and at the mouth 
by speaking, which is more tor weakness and 
feebleness of ihe soul than through greatness 
of love. For afterwanl, when love hath boiled 
all uncleanness out of the soul by such great 
fen'ours, then is ihe love clear and standeth still. 
And then is both the body and ihe soul much 
more in peace. And yet hath the soul imich 
more love than it had before, though it show 
less outwardly; for it is now all whole in rest 
within, and but little in outward showing of fer- 
vour. And therefore I say that these souls that 
feel such great bodily Fervours, though they be 
in much grace, are not yet reformeJ in feclin^'f 
but they are greatly disposed towards ii. For 
I trow that such a man, namely, that hath been 
greatly deliled in sin, sJiaU not be refurmed in 
feelingj unless he be first burnt and purified with 
such g^reat compunctions going before- 

Anoiher soul that never was much defiled 
with the love of the world, but hath ever been 
kept from great sins in innocency, maj" li^htlier 
and more privily, without great fervour showed 
outwardly, come to this reforming. Then is this 
true, as I hope, that such comforts and fervours 
that a soul feeleth in a state of its beginning, 
or of its profiting, are» as it were, his spiritual 
food sent from Heaven for to strengthen him in 



The Ecale of Perfection 

his journey. Even &s a Ptlgtim travelleth all 
day meatless and drinkless, and is naar-at-hand 
overcome with weariness, falleih at last to a gfood 
inn, and there hath he meat and drink, and is 
well refreshed for the time, rig'hC ?o is it 
spirituallr. A devout soul, iViat will forsake 
the love of the world, and would fain Jove God 
and setleih all her business thereto, praveth and 
exerciseth all day bodilv and spirituallv, and 
sometimes feeleth no coniforl nor savour in de- 
votion ; then our Lord, having pily on all His 
creatures, chat they should not perish for want, 
nor fall into heaviness or trudging', sendeth to 
it, among other things, His spiritual food, and 
comfortetn it in devotion as Re plea^eth. And 
when the soul feeleih any comfort, then doth 
she hold herself well paid for all her travail 
and all the suffering it had on the day, when 
ii fareth well at night by feeling of any grace. 
Also in the same manner falleih it out with 
other souls that are profiting and proceeding well 
forward in grace, Ttiese feel oftentimes gracious 
touchings of the Holy Ghost in their soul, both 
in understanding and sight of spiritual things, 
and in affection of love. But yet be they not 
reformed in feeling, nor are ihey yet perfect : for 
why? All such feelings come to them in that 
state as it were unawares, for they come to them 
ere they think of them, and go from them before 
they think \ and they cannot come by such things 
again, nor wot ihey where they may find them ; 
for they have not as yet any familiarity with 
them, of thought and lasting desire in Jesua. 
Nor is the eye of their soul opened to the be- 
holding of spiritual things, but they draw well 
toward it; and therefore they ^re not yet re- 
formed \\\ feeling nor have yet tlie full gift of 

The Second Book 



After what manner a Man shall came to know his 
own Soul, and how a Man should set his Love 
in Jesus, God and Man ir one Person 

A SOUL that would know spintual thingfs needs 
first to have the knowledg^e of itself; for stie can- 
not have the knowledge of a thing that i^ above 
herself, unless ^he have first the knowledge of 
herself- Anil that is when the soul is so gathered 
into herself, aud separated from beholding of all 
earthly thing'i and from the use of her bodily 
senses, that she feeleih herself as she is in her 
own kind, which is without a body. Then, if 
thou covet for to know and see thy soul what it 
is, ihou shalt rot turn thy thought with imagi- 
nation irto thy body, to seek it and feel it a^ it 
were hid within thy heart, as thy heart is hid and 
liolden vvilhin thy body. If thou seek in that 
manner, thou shalt never find it in itself. The 
more thou seekest for to find and feel it as thou 
wouldst feel a bodily thing, the farther thou art 
from it. For thy soul is no bodily thing, but 
a life invisible, not hid and holden within thy 
body, as a less thing is hidJen and holdcn with- 
in a greater; but it holdeth and quickeneih thy 
body, and is much qreater in mivht and virme 
than is thy body. It then thou wilt iind it, with- 
draw thy thoughts from all bodily things outward, 
and from minding of ihy own body, also from all 
thy fis'e senses, as much as thou canst, and think 
on the nature of a reasonable soul spiritually, as 
thou wouldst think lor to know any virtue, as 
justice, humility or any other. Right so think 
that a ^oul is a life immortal, invisible, and 


The Scale of Perfection 

hath in itself a power tf> know the sovereign 
verity, and for to love the sovereign goodness, 
which is God ; when thou seest this, then feclest 
thou somewhat of thyself. Seek thyself in none 
other place, but the more fully, the more clearly 
that thou thinkest of ihe nature and th^ worthi- 
ness of a reasonable sou!, what it is and what is 
the kindly working of it, the belter scest thou 

It is full hard for a soul that is rude and 
much in the flesh fur to have sight and knowledge 
of itself or of ar» ang-el or ot God. It falleih 
presently to the imagining of a bodily shape, 
and it weeneth thereby to have the sight of it- 
self^ and in like manner [if GoJ, aiiJ of spiritual 
things. And that may not be, for all spiritual 
thing-s are seen and known by the understand- 
ing of the soul, not by the imagination. Right 
as a soul seeth by her understanding, that the 
virtue of righteousness is to give to everything 
that which ho ought to ha^e ; right so, and on 
such a manner may the soul see itself by the 
understand ing- 

Nevertheless, I say not that ihy soul should 
rest still in thi*; knowing, but it shall by this 
seek a higher knowledge above itielf» and that 
is the nature of God, for the soul is but a 
glass/ in the which thou shouldst see God spiri- 
tually. And theri^fore thou shalt first find thy 
glass and keep it bright and clean from fleshly 
filth and worldiv vanity, and hold it well up 
from the earth, that thou mayest see it and our 
Loril therein also, i-or to this end do all chosen 
souls travail in this life, in their menning and 
in th»ir intent, though they have not the specUl 
feeling of th's. And therefore it is s:iid before 

• Mirror, 

The Second Book 


that many souLs beginning' and profiting have 
many great fervours, and much sweet devotion, 
and as it seemeth are all burning in love, and 
yet have they not love perfectly nor spiritual 
knowledge of God, For be tlioti well a'isiired 
that though a soul feel never so much fervour, 
even so much that he thinketh hi^ body cannot 
bear it; or though he melc all into weeping, 
as long a^ his thinking and his beholding of 
God is for the most part or all in imagination, 
and not in the understanding, he is not yet 
come to perfect love nor to CoTJlempItdimi. 

For thou shalt understand that the love of 
God is in three manner of ways : all of which 
are good, but each one is better than the other 
The first cometh only through Faiih, without 
gracious imagination or spiritual knowing of 
God, This love is in the least soul that is re- 
form^J in Faith, in tht; lowest degree of charity; 
and it is good, tor it sufEceth to salvation. The 
seiond \% that which a soul feeleth through faith 
and imagination of Jesus in His Manhood. 
This love is better than the first, when the 
imagination is stirred by grace, for then the 
spiritual eye is opened in beholding of our 
Lord's humanity. The third love that a soul 
fceltth througrH spiritual sight of the Godhead 
in the humanity, as i: may be seen here, is the 
best and most worth v, and that is perfect 
love. Tltfs love a souj feeleth not, until it be 
reformed in feeling. Soids beginning and profit- 
ing have rot this love, for ihey cannot think 
on Jesus nor love Him spiritually, butj as it 
were, all manly and fleshly after the coniiitions 
and likene*is of a man; and accordingly they 
frame all their working in their thoughts and 

r Him as a man. 



The Scale of Perfccfioi 

and worship Him and love Him principally by 
the imagination of His humanity, and go m 

As thus: If they have done amias and tres-, 
passed against God, tlipy think then that God 
is an^ry with them, as a man would be if they 
had trespassed againsL him ; and therefore they- 
fall down, as it were, at the feet of our Lord 
with sorrow of heart, and cry Him mercy- And 
when they have done thus, they have a good 
trust that our Lord of His mercy will forgive 
them their trespass. This manner of doings is 
right good, but it is not spiritual as it mii^ht 
be. Also when they would worship God, thev 
present themselves in their thoui^hts, as if they 
were before our Lord's face in a bodily likeness, 
and imagine a wonderful light there where our 
Lord Jesus is, and then they reverence Ilim, 
and worship Hinin and fear Him, and fully put 
them into His mercy for to do with them what 
He will. Also when they would love God, they 
behold Him, worship Him, and dread Him as 
a man (not yet aa God in the humanity^, either 
in His Passion, or in some other thing in His 
humanity, and in that beholdino: they feel their 
hearts much stirred to the love of God- 

This manner of working is good and gra- 
ciousi but it is much less and lower than 13 
the working" of the understanding : that is, wlien 
the soul graciously beholdeth God in man^ for 
in our Lord Jesus are two natures, the Humanity 
and the Divinity. Ard as the Divinity is more 
sovereign and more worthy than ihe Humanity, 
right so the spiritual beholding of the Diviniiy 
in Jesus Man is more worthy, and more spiri- 
tual^ and more meritorious than the beholding 

The Second Book 


of the Humanity alf>ne, whether he behold the 
Humanity as mortal or as gJorified, And right 
so by the same rea-son the love which a soul feel- 
eth in thinking' and beholLTing' of the Divinity in 
the ManhooJ, when it is gracio-uslv showed, is 
more worthy, more spiritual, and more meri- 
torious than the fervour of devotion, that the 
sou! feeleth by the imagination only of the 
humanity, show it never so much outwardly; 
for in reg:ard of that of the Divinity, this of 
the Humanity is but a human thing-. lor our 
Lord showcih not Himself in the imagination 
as He [5, nor that lie is, for the soul cannot 
at Ihat time for frailty of the flesh suffer it so, 

Nevertheless unto such souls that cannot 
meditate on the Divinity spiritually, that they 
may not err in their devoiion, but that th^y 
should be comfortdd and strengthened bv some 
manner of inward beliolding of Jesus to for- 
sake sin and the love of the world, wherefore 
our Lord Jesus tempereth this invisible lisfht 
of His Godhf'ad, and clotheth it under bodily 
likeness of His Afanhood. and showeth it unto 
the inner eye of the soul, and feedeth it with 
the love of His precious flesh spiritually. The 
which love 1^ of so j;Teat mighC, that it'slayeth 
all wicked love in the soul, and strengthens it 
for to sillier bodily penance and other bodily 
difficulties in the time of need for the love of 
Jesus. And this is the shadowing' of our Lord 
Jesus over a chosen soul, in which shadowing- 
the soul is kept from the burnincf of worldly 
love; for as a shadow is made of a light and 
of a bodv, even so this spiritual shadow is 
made of the blessed invisible light of the God* 
head, and of the Manhood united thereto showed 
to a devout soul, Of the whicb shadow the 


The Scale of Perfection 

Lam.iv. /Vtfj^Atf/ sailh tliust Sptritus an£g Jaciem nostram, 
&c. — Ortr Lord Christ hcf&re our face ns a Sptrtt^ 
Hndn His shfuimv w£ shall live among /oiks. Thai 
is, our Lord Jesus in His Godhead is a spirit, 
that cannot be seen of us living' in the flesh 
as He is in His blessed light, therefore wt' 
shall live under the shadow of His Manhood 
AS long as ^ve are here. 

But though that this be true that this love 
in imagination is g"ood i nevertheless a soul 
should desire to have i^pirilual love in under- 
standing of the Godhead; for that is the end 
and the full bliss of the soul, and all bodily 
beholdings are but means leading a soul xo it. 
I say not that we should refuse the Manhood 
of Jesus, and separate God from man; but thou 
shall in Jesus Man> behold. fear> admire and 
love spiiHiually the (iodhpad, and so shall thotj, 
without separating them, love God in man, and 
both God and man spiritually and fleshly- Thus 
our Lord taught Alary M.t^d<ilen to do like a Lott- 
tcmptative, when He said thus; Noli mc (angdrtt 
<^£. — Tottch me not : lam not yet csc^ndid (& My 
Father, The meaning is this ; Alary Aiagdaiat 
loved our Lord Jesus well before the time of His 
Passion, but her Jove was much bodily and little 
jipirituah She undi^rstood well that He was 
God| but she loved Htm but little as God ; for 
she could not then, and therefore she suffered 
all her affection and ad her thoughts to fall 
on Him as He was in form of man. And our 
Lord blamed her not then, but praised it much. 
But alter when He was risen from death, and 
appeared to her, she would have worshipped 
Him with the same manner of love as she did 
before, and then our Lord forbade her, and 
said ttitLs: Touch Me hqL That is, set not thy 


The Second Book 


rest nor the love of thy heart on that form of 
man which thou seest with thy fleshly eye, for 

10 rest therein only, for in that form I am not 
ascended up to My Father; that is, I am not 
equal to the Father, that is, the form of the 
Godhead ; and love Me, know Me and worship 
Me as God and Man, godly, not aa a man, 
manly, so shalt thou touch Me, For since I 
am both God and Man, and all tlio reason why 
I am to be beloved and witrshipped is, for that 
I am God, and for that 1 took the nnture of 
man ; and therefore make Me a God in thy 
heart and in thy love, and worship T^te in thine 
understandings as Jesus, God and Man, the 
sovereign verity and the sovereign goodness, 
and blessed life ; for I am so. And thus our 
Lord tauE^ht her, as I untlersland. and also all 
other souls that are disposed to Confivipiafic^i^ and 
enabled thereto that they should do so. Neverthe- 
less other souls are not so skiJfiilj* nor are yet 
made spiritual throupli grace, it \^ pood for them 
that they keep on thtir own working" in imagina- 
tion, with affections towards our Saviour's Hu- 
manity, until more grace come freely to them, 

11 is not safe for a man to leave any good thing 
utterly, until he see and feel a better. 

In like manner may it be said of other kind 
of feeling;s that are like to bodily, as hearing 
of delectable song's, or feeling of comfortable 
heat in the body, seeing- of light, or sweetness 
of bodily savour- These are not spiritual feel- 
ing's ; for spiritual feeling's are felt in the powers 
of the soul, principally in the understanding, 
and in love» and little in the imagination. But 
these feelinj^s are felt in the powers of the body 
in the imaginationi and therefore are not spirituaJ 

* SubLle ill kind. 


The Scale of Perfection 

Aett ii. 

feeling's. But when they are even at best, and 

most true, yet are they but outward tokens of 
the inward grace which is felt in the powers of 
ihe 5oul. This may be plainly proved out of Holy 
Writ, saying thus i Apf^arutrunt Aposioiis, ^c. — 
'J he Holy Ghosi appeared (a ihe Apostles on ihe day 
of P^tUcost in the Uksruss of buruirtg ton^u^^ and 
inflamed their hearts, and sat upmi each of them. 
Now ic is true that the Holy Gho<t, which is 
God in Himself invisible, was not that fire nor 
these tongues that were seen, nor that burning 
which was felt bodily, but ?le was invisibly felt 
in the powers of their souls, for He enliyht* 
ened thetr rea.^^on and enkindled their affections 
through His blessed presence so clearly and so 
burningly, that they had suddenly the spiritual 
knowledge of truth, and the perfection of love, gs 
our Lord promised them, saying thus: Spintiti 
Satictus docebii vos, &c. — TJi'e Hoiy Spirit sh^i! 
teach ymt all truth. Tliai fire and that burning 
then was nought eUe but a bodily token show 
outwardly in witnessing of that grace which w 
fell inwardly- And as it was in tlT?m, so is Jt 
other souls that are visited and li>:htened within 
of the Holy Ghost, and have withal such out- 
ward feelings for comforting them and witness- 
ing of their inward grace. But yet 1 do n 
chink thai such grace is in all souls that 
perfect^ but only where our Lord pleaselh. 

Oiher imperfect souls that have such feelin 
outwardly, and have not yet received inward 
grace, it is not ^qoA for them to rest ia such 
outward feelings, but only inasmuch as they help 
the soul to more love, and to more stableness of 
thouejht in God ; for some m:iy be true aad some 
may be fc-ignedj as I have said before, 

I in 





In what S^nse this Manner of Speaking ol Reforming 
of a Soul in FeeJing is to b*: understood; and 
in what Manner it is reformed, and how il is 
foiiod in St Paul's Writings 

I HAVE herelofore told thee somewhat of re- 
forming' in Faith, and also I have touched 
concerning thy proceeding from that reforming' 
to a higher reforming which is in feeling. Not 
that 1 would by these discour-^e[> limit God's 
working" hy the law of my speaking, as to say 
that God worketh thus in a soul and no other- 
wise. No, I mean not so, but 1 speak after my 
simple feeling that our Lord worketh thus in 
some treaiurea as I conceive. And I hope well, 
also, thai He worketh otherwise, which passeth 
my wit and my feeling. Nevcrthelefis, whether 
He worketh thus or otherwise by several ways, 
in longer time or shorter, with much travail or 
little^ if all come to one end, that is, the per- 
fect love of Him, then is it good enough. For 
if He will give one soul on one day the full 
grace of Cmifcmplatio^j ^ and without any travail, 
as He well may ; as good is that to that soul 
as if he had been tried, pained,* jriortiPed and 
purified twenty years. And therefore in this 
manner take my saying's as I ha^-e said, and 
namely as I meant to say them. For now by 
the grace of our Lord Je^us shall I speak a 


The Scale of Pcrftclion 

little as methinkelh more plainly of reforming 
in feeling, what it i»« ^nd how it is made, and 
what are spiriiua] feelings which a soul re- 
ceiveth. Yet in the first place, that I may not 
be undc-rstood to make this manner of speaking 
of reforming of a soul in feeling as a fiction or 
fancy of my own, 1 shall ground it on Si Path's 
words, where he saiih thus: Noiife coji/ormart 
huic sacuh^ &£» That is, ye that are through 
grace reformed in Faith, conform not yourselves 
henceforward to the manner of the world, in 
pride, in covetousness and in other sins, &u/ & 
jP#nf, xii. y^ reformed in fienuitss cj jeHing* Lo, here thou 
mayest see that St Pttul ^peake^h of reforming in 
feeling; and whdt thai newness oi feeling is he 
expoundeth in another place thus: £// iwj*/ft)- 
mmi tn agnittonc. dfc. That is : We fray Gvd 
thai ye muy he fiU/tligd in k'nntiing of Gild's wUl 
tn all tinckrsi<mdin^ tiuii tn ail maniitr (ff spirituai 
CqL\, Wisdojn, This is reforming in feeling; for thoU 
must understand th:it the &oui hath two manners 
of feelings, one without by the five bodily senses; 
another within of the spiritual senses, which are 
properly the faculties of the soul — memory, 
understanding and will. When these facuUies 
are through grace fulfilled in all understanding 
of the will oi' God and spiritual wisdom, then 
hath the souL new gracious feelings. That this 
is so he ihoweth in another place, thus: Reno- 
vamitn sftrttu mentis z'estri, &'c. — Beyi^ r^nctt'cd ift 
Bph. \\\ the spinl of your souL That is, ye shall be re- 
lormed, not in bodily feeling nor in imagination, 
but in the upper part of your reason. Andh^ 
clothed luiih ihe 7irw mtin, that is skapen afUr God 
jft righlif>usness, hcliness and Iruth. ihat is, 
your reason, which is proDC^Hv the image of 

* In novitate Beii>iu&. 

The Third Book 


God, throug^h grace of Ihe Holv, shall be 
clothed in a new lli^ht of truth, holiness and 
righteousness, and then is it reformed in feeling. 
For when the &011I hath perfect knowledg-e ol 
God, then is Jt reformed. Thus saith S£ Paul: 
ExpcUatiUs veUrem iwminan, &c.- — Spoil year id/ 
of the old man unih aii his dtrds. That is, ca&t 
from you the love of the \vorM with all worldly 
manners, and clothe you ^ttk ike ncus man, 'i hal 
is, you shall be renewed in the knowing of God, 
after the likeness of Him that made you. 

By these worJs thou inaye&t undertpiaiid that 
St Paul would have men's souls reformed in 
perfect knowleJg'e of God, for that is the new 
feeling- which he speaketh of gi^nerally. And 
therefore upon his words I shall speak more 
plainly of ihis reforming as God shall give me 
grace. For there be two mannetii of knowmg 
of God. 

One is had principally in imagination, and 
little in understanding, This knowing is in 
chosen souls beginning and profiting in grace, 
who knf>w God, and love Him humanly (not 
spiritually} with huT-an affeciions, and with a 
corporal imaye of His Humanity, as I have 
spoken before* 

This knowing is good, and is likened to milk, 
by which they arc tenderly n^jurished as children 
until they be able to come la the Father's table, 
and lake from His hand substinttai bread. 

Another knowing is principally felt \a the 
understandincr, and little in ima'^in-ition ; for the 
understanding is the lady, and the imagination 
is the tnaid, serving th<i uiiderstnnding when 
need is. Thi!5 knowiJif^ is s.jlid bread meet for 
perfect soula, and is reforming in feeling" 

CoL ill. 


The Scale of Perfection 


How God openf tb thf inward Eyt oi iht Scul to sec 
Him, not all at once, but by divers limes, and of 
thre? Manners of reforming oi a Soul esplained 
by a familiar Ex^mpl^ 

A SOfL that IS called from the love of the world, 

and aftpr that is rig-hted, tried and mortifted and 
parifitdi as I have said before, our Lord Jesus 
of His merciful g-oodness reformeili it in feelintj 
when He plcaseth. He openeth the inner eye 
of the snul, when He enliv'hteneth her reason 
through the touching and sliininE: of His blessed 
light for to see Him and know Ilim, not all fully 
at once, but by Utile and little, by divers times, 
as the soul is able lo bear it. He seeth Him not 
what He is, for that c^n no creature do in Heaven 
nor in earth. Nor sceth he Him as He is, for 
that sight is only in the bliss of Heaven, But 
he seeth Him that He is an unchangeable being, 
a supreme power, a sovereign truth, supreme 
goodness, a blessed life, an endless bliss. This 
£eeth a soul« and much more that cometh withal 
not blindly and nakedly and nn^avourlv. as doth 
a learned man, that knoweih and seeih Him onlv 
by his learning, through might of his naked 
reason ; but he seeth Him in tinderstanding, 
tliat 15, comforted and lighted by the gift of the 
Holy Ghost, with a wonderful reverence, and 
a secret burning love, and with a spiritual sa- 
vour and heavenly delfgiU, more clearly and 
more fully than can be written or spoken. 

This siijht, though it be but short and little, 
IS so wonhv and so mighty that it draweth and 
ravi^heth all the auctions of the soul from be- 

The Third Book 


holding and minding of all earthly things to it- 
self, for to rest therein evermore if it could. And 
upon this kin(3 of sight and knowing the soul 
gToundeth all its workinjii' inward in all the affec- 
tions; for then she wor^nhippeth God in the hu- 
manity, as verity; wondereth at Him, as power 
and might ; loveth Him, as goodness. l"his 
sight and this goodness, and this knowing of 
Jesup, with the blessed love that cometh oui of 
it, may be called reforming of a soul in feeling 
and in faiih, which 1 have spoken of. It is in 
faith, for it is dark yet in comparison of that full 
knowing of Jesus, with the blessed love that 
cometh out of it, that shall be in Heaven. For 
then shall we !^ee Him, not only that He is, but 
as He is, as S£ ^Qkn saJth : Tunc Tid^bimus ttum 
sicui est — Thcti shall we sec Him as lit is. Never- ' St Jehn 
iheles5 it is in feeling, as in regard of that 
blind knowing that a soul halh standing only in 
faith, for this soul knoweth somewhat of the very 
nature of Jesus as God through this gracious 
sight, which that other in faith knoweth not, but 
only believeth it to be truth. 

Nevertheless* that thou mayest the better 
conceive what 1 mean, I shall show these three 
manners of reforming of a soul by example of 
three men standing' in the light of the sun. Of 
the which one is blind, anottier can see, but hath 
his eyes stopped, tlie third looketh forth with full 
sight. The blind man hath no manner of know- 
ledge that he is in the sun, but he believeth it if an 
honest man tell him so ; and he betokenelh a soul 
that is only reformed in Faith, that believeth in 
God as holy Church teacheth, and understandeth 
not what. This sufficeth as to salvation. That 
other man seeth a light of the sun, but he seeth 
it not clearly what it is, for his eyelid letteth him 



The Scale of Perfection 

that he cannot see: but he seech chroug'h the lids 
of his eyes a glimmering- of great light. And 
thTs man betokeneih a soul Chat is reformed in 
Faith and in feeling, and so he is Cofttcmpiativi, 
for he seeth somewhat of the Godhead of Jesus 
throug*h (Trace, not clearly nor fully; for ihe lid, 
that is, his bodily nalure^ is yet a wall betwixt 
his nature and the nature of Jesus God, and let- 
teth him from the clear sight. But he seeth 
through this wall, after that grace toucheth him 
more or less, that Jesus \% God, and tiiat Jesus is 
sovereign g^oodness, aiid sovereign being, and 
ablessed life, and that all other goodness cometh 
from Him* Thus seeth the soul by grace, nol- 
wichstanding its bodily nature, and the more 
clean and subtle that the soul is made, and the 
more it is separated from 5ensuality» the sharper 
sight it hath and the greater love of the Divinity 
of Jesus, This sight i^ so mighty that though 
no other man living should believe in Jesus, nor 
love Him, yet would he rever bclies'c the less, 
nor love Him the less, for he seeth it so certainly 
that he cannot but believe it. 

The third man that hath full sight of the sun, 
he believeth it not, for he seeth ii fally. And he 
betoUeneCh a full blessed soul, that without any 
wall of bis body or of sin, seeth openly the face 
of Jesus in the bliss of Heaven. Ihere is no 
faith, and therefore he is fully reformed in feel' 
ing. There is no state above the second reform- 
ing that a soul can come to here in this life, for 
this is the slate of perfection and the way to 
heavenward. Nevertheless^ ail the souls that 
are in this state are not all alike in degrees ; for 
some have it little, short and seldom ; and some 
longer, clearer and o^tener; and some have it 
best of aLlf clearest and longest, according to the 

The Third Book 


abounding of grace, and yet all these have the 
gift of Contempiatjon. For the soul hath not per* 
feet sight of Jeaus all at once, but at first a little 
and a little, and aFier that it profiteth and cometh 
to more feeling ; and as long as it is in this life 
it groweth more in knowing, and in this love of 
Jesus- And verily I know not what can be more 
desirable to such a soul that hath felt a little of 
it, than utterly to leave it and set at nought all 
other things, for to hold only thereto, to have 
a dearer sight and clearer love of Jesus, in whom 
is all the Blessed Trinity- 

This manner of knowing of Jesus, as I under- 
stand> is the opening of Heaven to the eye of 
a clean soul, ol which holy men speak in their 
wrilings. Not as some imagine, ihat the open- 
ing of Heaven is as if a soul could see by imagi- 
nation through the skies above the Firmament, 
how our Lord Jesus sitteth in His Majesty, in 
a bodily light, as much as £tn hundred suns. No» 
it is not so; no, iTiough he see never so high on 
this manner, veriJy he seeth not the spiritual 
Heaven, Tlie higher he soareth up above the 
sun for to see Jesus God, thus by such imagi- 
nation the lower he falleth beneath the sun. 
Nevertheless, this kind of sight is tolerahle in 
aimple souls that can seek no better for Him 
that is invisible. 


How Jesua ia Heaven to the Soul, Eind why He is 
called Fire 

What then is Heaven to a reasonable soul ? 
Verily nought else but Jesus God. For if thai 
be Heaven only that is above all things, then 




The Scale of Perfection 

is God only Heaven to man's souJ, for He 
alone is above the nature of a soul. Then if a 
soul can through R-race have knowledge of that 
blessed nature of Jesus, verily he seeth Heaven^ 
for he seeth God. Therefore there be many men 
Ihat err in unrierstanding of some words that are 
spoken of God, for that ihey understand them 
not spiritually. 

Holy Writ sailh, that a soul Ihat will find 
God must lift her inward eye upward, and seek 
God above itself. Then 5ome men that would 
do after this saying, understand this word aikTZje 
fhemseh'es to signify the placing or setting of a 
thing in place and worthiness above another, as 
one element or planet is above another in situa- 
tion and worthiness of a bodily place. But it is 
not so taken spiritually: for a soul is above each 
bodily things, not in place, or siy:ht, but in purity 
and worthiness of nature. Right so in the same 
manner God is above aU bodily and spiritual 
creatures, not in place and sig"ht, but in purity 
and woribiness of His unchangeable blessed 

And therefore he that will wiseW seek God, 
and find Him, he must not run out with his 
thoughts as if he would climb above the sun, 
and pan the firmament, and imagine the 
Majesty like to a hundred suns. But he must 
rather draw down the sun, and all the lirma- 
ment, and forget it, and cast it beneath him 
where he is, and set all this and all bodily 
thinjTs also at nought; and then, if he can, 
think spiritually both of himself and of God 
also. And if he do thus, then seeth the soul 
above itselfj then seeth it into Heaven, 

Upon this same manner shall this word 
^tChiti be understood. It is commonly said 

The Third Book 


tliat a sou] should see our Lord ^tthin ail 
ihirigs and mtihin iUtlf. True it is, that ouc 
Lord i& -it'ithm all creatures, but not on that 
manner that a kernel is hid within the shell of 
a nut ; or as a Utile boUily iluntf is contained 
-within a ereater. But He is within all crea- 
tures, as holding and preserving th^m in their 
being-, through the subtlety and poner of His 
own blessed nature, and purity invisibie. For 
even as a thing chat \% most precif^us and most 
clean is laid innermost, li'^hc so by the same 
likeness it is said that the nature of God, which 
is most precious, most clean, most goodlv, most 
remote Irom bodily substance, is hid within all 
things. And therefore he that will seek God 
within* he must first forget all bodily tldnffs, 
ior all buch things are wilhoLit; and also his 
own body; and he must forgot thinkint^ of his 
own soul, and think on the uncreated nature; 
that is, Jesus, who made him, quickeneth him, 
holdeth him, and giveth him reason, memory 
and love, the which is nichin liim through His 
power and sovereign subtlety. 

Upon this manner mu^t the soul do, when 
grace toucheih it, or eUe it will but little avail 
to seek Jesus, and to find Ilim wiLhin itself, and 
within all creatures as methinketh. 

Also it is said in HoW Writ, thai God is light, i stjohn L 
So sayeth St ^ohn : God h ti^ht. This light we 
roust not take for a bodily light ; but it must be 
understood thus : God rs light; that is, God is 
truth and verity itself, for verity is spiritual light. 
He then that most graciously knc^wcth verity, 
best seeth God. And n evert he le-s it is likened 
to corporal light, for this reason: Kight as the 
sun showcth to the bodily eye both itself and all 
bodily things thereby; even so verity, that is^ 


The Scale of Perfection 

God, showeth to the reason of tbe soul itself firet, 
and by itself all other spiritual things that are 
needful to the knowing ot a soul. Thus saith the 
Fsafm iDOEV, pTvpfut : Domttii in lumme fito ^liebtrnus iumen. 
— Lord^ wc shall sf£ 7'fty it^hi by Thy iig^U. That 
is, we ah*iU see Thee, who art verity, by Thyself. 

lieb, KiL In like luanner, ii is said that God is fire. 
Out God ij loasiitig fire. That is to say, God is 
not elementary fire, that heateth and bumeth a 
body, but God is love and charity. For as tire 
wasteth all bodily thicgs, that can be wasted, 
even so the love of God bumeth and wasteth all 
sin out of the soul and makelh tt clean, as fire 
cleanseth all manner of metals. These words and 
all other that are spoken of our I-ord in Holy 
Writ by bodily similitude, must tieetJs be under^ 
stood spiritually, dae there is no savour in them. 
And the reason why such words are said of our 
Lord in Holy Writ is this, for that we arc so 
carnal, that we cannot speak of God nor under- 
stand anything of Him, unless we be first entered 
by such words. Uul when the inner eye is open 
through grace to have a tittle sight of Jesus, then 
lyill the soul easily enough turn all such words of 
bodily things into spiritual understanding. This 
spiritual opening- of the inner eve into knowing 
of the Divinity, 1 call reforming in faith and feel- 
ing. For then the soul feeleth somewhat IQ 
tiaderstanding of that thing that it liad before, 
in naked believing, and that is the hegij^ning 
of ConUmplatwu, Of th^i which SI Paul saith 

2 Cbr. W. thus : Ni^n Coniempl'ttUihus tioh's grus vidcnti^^ 
a^c.—Qur Cantcmpiation \s not an things that ari 
sceUt hat on ihmgs unseen. For things i/utl «ftf 
sf£7t art passifjg, out things unseen are eptriasftng* 
To which sight every soul should desire to come. 
both Here in part, and m the bliss of Heaven 

Thfi Third Book 245 

fa\ly. For in that sifjhtj and in that Icnowin^ 

of Jesua fully, consistech the bliss ofa reasonable 

soul and endless life. Thus saith our Lord : I/ca: 

est autem Viia <etfrnfi, ;^^.— This is eternal life, sz/oAmvii. 

that tliey krow Tltee the true God^ and Thy Son 

whom Thou hast sent. 


Of two manfipp of Loves, created AnA uncreatp^f, and 
how we are bouai to love ]i:sijs much for out* 
Crcati^a ; but mcrf iot cur Rfdcmplion ; and 
niosL of ail for our Salvaliuar ih^oLj^h tiie %Ai% 
of HiB Love 

But now perhaps thou wonderest why, since this 
knowing of Gcrd is the hlrss and end of a Soul, 
why I have said heretofore that a soul should 
covtt nought else but only the love of Godi and 
speak nothing of this sight that a soul should 
covet it. 

Unto this T may answer, that the sight of 
Jesus is the full bliss of a soul ; but not only for 
the sight, hut also for the blessed love that 
Cometh out of that si^ht. And because that 
love Cometh out of knowing, and not knowing 
out of love ; therefore it is said^ that in knowing, 
and in sight principally of God with love is the 
bliss of a 50ul '. and the more He is known, the 
better He is loved. But forasmuch as a soul 
cannot arrive to this knowing, and the love that 
Cometh out of it, without love, therefore I say 
that thou must covet love; for love is a cause 
why a soul cometh to (his knowing, and to the 
love that cometh out of it. And in what manner 
that is, I shall tell thee more plainly- 
Holy wriier* say, and true it is, that thei 


The Scale of Perfection 

be two sorts of spiritual lovet One is called 
CrcfiUif, aiid ihe other l/jureaied. Love uncreated 
is God Him*;elf, the Third Person in the Trinity^ 
that is the Holy Ghost, He is love uncreated, 
xSi/ahaVt. and unmade; as -5V yohn saiih: Gvd ts iove. 
That iSj the Holy GJiost. Love created is the 
affection of the soul produced by the Holy Ghos^t 
out of the sight and the knowing of Veriiy ; that 
is» God stirred up, and act upon him. This love 
is called cr^'ded, for it is made by the Holy Ghost 
This love is not God in Himself, for it is made : 
but it is the love of the soul felt by the sig^ht of 
Jesus, and stirred up towards Him only. Now 
may you see that created love is not the cause 
why a soul cometh to the spiritual sight of Jesus. 
And some men think that the}' could love God so 
fervently, as it were by their own strength, thai 
they might be worthy to have the spiritual know- 
ing of Him. No, it is not so; but love uncrealed, 
that is, God Himseif, is cause of «n this knowing. 
For a blind wretched soul is so far from the clear 
knowing:, and tbe blessed feeling of His love, 
through sin and frailty of its corporal nature, 
that it could never come to it, if it were not lor 
the endlees greatne^^s of the love of God. But 
becau?*e He loveth us so much, therefore giA'eth 
He us His love, that is the Holy Ghost. He is 
both the giver and the gift, and maketh us then 
by that gitt for lo know and love Him. 

Lo, this is the love that I spake of, that thou 
sbouldst only covet and desire this uncreated 
love, thai is, the Holy Ghost; for verily a less 
thing or a less gift than He is cannot avail u.^^, 
lo bring us lo the blessed sight of Je^us. And 
therefore ought wo iully to de'=ire and ask of 
Jesus only this gift of love, that He woulJ for 
the grreatness of His so blessed love touch our 

The Third Book 


hearts with His invisible light to the knowledge 
of Himself, and make us partakers of His love ; 
that as He loveih us, so we might love Him 
a^ain. Thus saith Si John: Nos dihgnmus y St John 
Deum^ &c. — Lc£ us love God now^ for Ih loved 
t4s firsi. He loved us much when He made us 
after His likeness ; but He loved us more when 
He bought us with His precious Blood, by volun- 
tary undertaking of death in His Humanity from 
the power of the enemy and the pains of Hell ; 
but He loveih us most when He givelh us the 
gift of the Holy Ghost, that is. ]ove> by the 
which we know Him and love Him, and are 
made secure that we are His sons chosen to 
salx-ation. For this Icve are we more bound 
to Him than for any other love that ever He 
showed to us, either in our making or redeem- 
ing- For though He had made us and bought 
US, if He did not save us withal, what would 
our making or redeeming profit us I Verily 
right nought- 

Therefore the greatest token of love showed 
to us, as methinketh, is this ^ That He giveth 
Himself In His Godhead to our souls. He gave 
Himself, firjit, in His manhood to us for our ran- 
som, when He offered Himself to the Father of 
Heaven upon the altar of the Cross. 

This was a right fair gift, and a right great 
token of love. But when He givelh Himself 
in His Godhead spiritually to our souls for our 
salvation, and maketh us to know Him and to 
love Him> then loveth He us fully j for then 
giveth He Himself to us. and more cannot He 
give u5, nor could less suffice us. And for this 
clause it is said that the justifying of a sinful 
soul through forgiveness of sins is attributed* 

' Anrectcd» 


The Scale of Perfection 

and appropriated principally to the working of 
the Holy Ghost; for the Koly Ghost b love. 
And in the justifying of a sinner, our Lord 
Jesus showeth to a soul most of Hia love ; for 
He putteih away all sin, and uiiiteih it to Him ; 
and that i^ the best thing that He can do to 
a soul ; and therefore it is ailributed to the Holy 
Gho£i, l"he making of the soul is attributed to 
the Father, as to the aovereigii might and power 
that He showeth in making of it. The redeeming- 
of it is attributed lo the Son^ as to the sovereign 
skill and wisdom ilmi He showed in His Man- 
hood ; for He overcame the enemy principally 
through wisdom, and not through strength. But 
the justifying and full saving of a &0L1I through 
forgiveness of sins is appropriatt^d to the Third 
Person, that is, the Holy Ghost, for therein 
showeth Jesus most love unto man's soul, and 
for that thing should He be most loved of us 
again. His making is common to us and all 
unreasonable creatures; for as He made us of 
nought, so made He them, and therefore this 
is a work of greatest might, but not of great- 
est love. Also the Redemption is common to 
us and all reasonable souls, as to J^ws and 
SaracenSf and to false Christian men i for He 
died for all souls alike, and bought them if 
they would have the perfect love of it. And 
also it is sufficient for the restorinjr of all, 
though it be so that all have it not. And this 
work had most of wisdom, not most of love. 
But the justifying and sanctifyin]^ of our souls 
through the gift of the Holy Ghost, that is 
only the work of love, and is not common, but 
a special gift only to chosen souls. And verily 
that is mo?'t the working of love to us that are 
Hifi chosen children. 

The Third Book 

This 15 the love of Got! tliat I spake of, which r^tift doih aiL 
thou shauld>t covet and desire > for tins Iovq is 
God Himself and the Holy Ghost. This love 
uncreated, when it is given to us, it workelh in 
our souls all that good is^ and. all that belongetli 
to goodness. This love loveth us before we love 
Him, for it deanseth us first from our sins, it 
m^tketb us to love Him, and maketh our wills 
strong to withstand all sins, and atirreth us up 
to ourselves through divers exercises 
both bodily and ghostly in all virtues. It 
stiiTfth us up also to forsake sin and carnal 
affections and worldly fears. It keepeth tis 
from malicious temptations of the enemv, and 
driveth us out from business and vanities of the 
world, and from the conversation of worldly 
lovers. All this dotli the uncreated love ot 
God, when He giveih Himself to us; we do 
right nought but ^ufTer Him arid assent to 
Him ; for that is the most that we do to as- 
sent willingly to His gracious working in ua- 
And yet is not that will from and of ourselvea 
but of His making", so that mcthinketh He doth 
in us all thai is well done, and yet we see it not. 

And He not only doth all thus, but after- 
wards this loi'fi doth more i for He openeth the 
eye of the soul, and showeih to the soul the sight 
of Jesus wonderfully, and the knowledge of Him 
as weU as the soul can suffer it by little and 
little ; and by that sight He ravisheth all the 
affections of the soul to Him. and then b^ginneth 
the soul to know Him spiritually and to love 
Him burningly. Tlien scelh the soul somewhat 
of the nature of the blessed Divinity of Jesus, 
how that He is all, and that He worketh all, 
and that all g'ood deeds that are done and good 
thoughts are only of Him; for He is all-sove- 


The Scale of Perfection 

reign might and all-sovereign X'erity ard all- 
sovereign goodness. And therefore every good 
deed is done of Him and by Him, And He 
aJone shall have the worship and the thanks for 
all g-ood deeds, and nothing else but ile ; for 
though wretched men stea.! His worship here 
for a while, yet at the l.isC end shall verity show 
full well that Jesus did all, and man did right 
nought of him^eif. And then shatl the thieves 
of God's gfoods that are not reconciled to Him 
here in this iife be judged to death for their sins. 
And Jesus shall be fully worshipped and thanked 
of all blessed creatures for His working". This 
love is nothinjif else but Jesus Himself, that for 
love worketii all this in man's soul and reformeih 
it in feeling to His likeness, as I have said before, 
and somewhat more shall say. This love bring- 
eth into the soul the perfection of all virtues, and 
maketh it all clean and true, soft and easy, and 
tumeth it all into love and into HKing. And in 
what manner He doth that I shall tell thee a little 
hereafter. This love drawetii the so\il from vain 
beholding: °f worldly things into CoiiUmplatiofi 
of spiritual creatures and of the secrets of God, 
from sensuality into spirituality, from earthly 
feeling into heavenly savour. 

The Third Book 



How that some Souls Iotc Jesus by todily Fervours, 
cUid by tlicir own human Aifcctions that are 
moved by Grace and by Reason. And how some 
Iqtp Him more quietly* by spiritual Affections 
only moved inwardly through spirilual Gractr of 
the Holy Ghost 

Therefore I may truly say, that he chat hath 
most of this love here in this life, moat pieaseth 
Godj and shall have most clear sight of Him, and 
most fully love Him in the bliss of Heaven, for 
that he hath the greatest gift of love here in 
earth. This love cannot be had by a man's own 
travail, as some imagine. It is freely had by the 
gracious gift of Jpsus after much bodily and 
fapiritual pains going before, For there arc some 
lovers of God that make themselves to love God 
as it were by their own mi^ht; for they strain 
themselves through great violence, and pant so 
strongly, that they burst inio bodily fervours, as 
if they would draw God down from Heaven to 
them. And they say in their hearts and with 
their mouth i Ah, Lord ( 1 love Thee, and I will 
love Thee> and I TiiU suffer death for the love of 
Thee. And in this manner of working they feel 
^eat fervour and much gTace. And true it is, I 
think, this working good and meritorious. t if it be 
\vell tempered with humility and discretion. But 
yet these men love not, nor have the gift of love 
on that manner that I speak of, neither do they 
ask it so. For a soul that hath the gift of love 
through gracfous beholding of Jesus, as I mean, 

* RcjiifuUv. t UcdtfuL 


The Scale of Perfection 

Pom. Alii. 


or that soul that hath it not yet, but would have 
it, she is nol busy to strain herself above her 
strenj^thf as it were by bodily mighty for to have 
it by bodiJy fervours, and &o far lo feel the love 
of God, but thinkeih herself to be right nought, 
and that she can do right nought of herself; but 
as it were a dead thing, only depending and 
borne up by the mercy of God, She seeth well 
that Jesus is all, and doth all, and, therefore, 
asketh she nought else but the gift of love ; for 
since the soul seeth that her own love is nought, 
therefore she desireth Hi5 love, for that is enough. 
Therefore she praycth and deiiireth that the love 
of God should touch her with His blessed light, 
that she may see a little of Him by His gracious 
presence, for then should she love Him ; and so 
by this way cometh the gift of love, which is God, 
into a soul, The more that a sout noughteth 
itself through grace by sight of tliis verity, some- 
time without ^Lny fervour showed outwardly, and 
the less that it ihinketh ihcit it loveth or seelh 
Godj the nearer it approacheth* for to perceive the ^^ 
gift of this blessed love ; for then is love master,]^H 
and worketh in the soul, and maketh it forget ^^ 
itself, and for to see and look on only how love 
worketh i and then is the soul more suffering 
than doing, and that is pure love. Thus Si Paul 
meant when he said thus i Quiciifftqu€ spiriiu Dsi 
agfifititr, (^c. — They thai art ':vrifnght by tht spirit 
of God arc God's sons. That is, souls that are 
made so humble, and so pliable t to God, that 
they work not of themselves, but suffer the Holy 
Ghost to stir and work in them the feelings of 
love with a sweet chord to His stirrings. Thdse 
are in a special manner God's sons most 
unto Him. 

NigbellL t BmuQL 

The Third Book 


Other souls that cannot love thus, but travail 
themselves by their own afflictionj;, and stir 
themselves through their own thinking of Grod 
and bodily exercise, for to draw out of them- 
selves, by mastery, the feeling of love, by 
fervours and other bodily signs, these love not 
spiritually. They do well and meritoriously, it 
so be they understand humbly that this their 
working is not the kindly gracious feeling oi 
love, but is a human acting of the soul at the 
bidding of reason. And, nevertheless, through 
the goodness of God, because ihe soul doth as 
much as in it is, these human affections of the 
soul stirred into God by man's working are 
turned into spiritual affections, and are merito- 
rious, as if they had been done spiritually in the 
first beginning. And this is a gresl courtesy of 
our Lord showed to bumble souls, whicti tumelh 
all these human affections of natural love into 
the affection and into the reward' of His own 
love, aa if He had wrought them all fully by 
Himself. And so these human affections thus 
turned may be called affections of spiritual love 
through purchase, not through kindly bringing 
forth of the Holy Ghost. 1 say not that a soul 
can work such human afft^ctlons only of itself 
without grace; for I wot well that Sf Pout saith 
that \^■e can do just nought, nor think anything 
that is good of ourselves ^-ithout grace. Noji i 0>f. m. 
entm quod sumtds stt^ctcnUsy i^c.—Noi as ^f toa - 
we ircre suj^cieni of oursthes (o think nnythivg m 
fif cursth'fs, butailmtr Vifflct'eucy ts of Cod. For 
God wotkelh in all both ijood work and good 
will, as St Paul saith '. It ts God thai n'ojkiih in ^f^*t. Vu 
us both to ^iti and to do, accQrdxng to I/is good 
pleasure. But I say that !iuch affections are 


The Scale of Perfection 

good, being made by the will and endeavours of 
a soul according to the general grace ihat He 
g-iveth to all chosen souls, not of spi^cial grace 
made spiritually by the touching of His gracious 
presence, as He workeih in His perfect love, as 
I said before j for in unperfeci lovers love work- 
eth at a distance by human affections; but in 
perfect lovers love worketh nearly by her own 
spiritual affections, and killeth in a 50\i\, for the 
time, all other affections, both carnal, natural 
and human ; and that is properly the working of 
love by itself. Thus love may be had in some 
measure,' in part, here in a pure soul through the 
spiritual STght of Jesus; but in the bliss of 
Heaven ic is fulfilled by clear sight in His God- 
head ; for there shall no afFectiors be felt in a 
soul but such as are divine and spiritual. 


That the Gift cl Love, amongst all other Gifts erf Jeans, 
iH most worthy and moat proliubU. Ani how 
Jesua doih ill that is wi?ll dene in His lovers, 
only for Love. And how Love maketb th; 
exercise of all Vu-tues and all good Deeds lighL 
and easy 

Ask, then, of God nothing but this gift of love, 
which is the Holy Ghost, For among all the 
gifts that our Lord giveth there is none so good, 
nor so profitable, so worthv, nor so excellent as 
this is. For there is no gift of God that is both 
the giver and the gift, but this gift of love ; rtnd, 
therefore, it Is the best and the worthiest. The 
gift of prophfcy, the gift of working miracle-^, the 
gift ol great knowledge and counsel, and the 

* In little. 

The Third Book aSS 

gift of great fasting, or of great penance doing*, 
or any other such^ are great gifts of ihe Holy 
Ghost, but Ihey are not tbe Holy Ghost, for 
Ji reprobate and damnable soul may hare all 
these gifts as well as an elect soul, And^ there- 
fore, all these kinds of gifts are not greatly to be 
desired or cared for much. But the gift of love 
is the Holy Ghost, God Himself, and Him can no 
soul have and 'ivithal be damned; for that gift 
alone iaveth from damnation, and maketh it 
Irod's son, and a receiver* of the heavenly heri- 
tage. And that lov.-, as 1 have said before, ia 
not the affection of love that is created in a 
aotil, but JL is the Holy Ghost Himself, that is, 
]ove uncreated, thai saveth a ^ouL For He first 
fiiveth Himself to that soul before the soul loveth 
Him, and He forraeth the affection in the soul, 
and maketh the soul to love Him only for Hini- 
hcU. And not ^n^^y so, but also by this gift the 
soul loveth itself, "and her neighbour as hersejf 
only for God. And this is the gift of love that 
maketh the distinction betwixt chosen and re- 
probate 5ou]s» And this gift maketh perfect 
peace betwixt God and a soul, and uniiech all 
Wessed creatures wholly in God; for it maketh 
Jesus for to love us, antl us Him also, and each 
of us to love one another in Him. 

^ Covet thl^ gift of love principally, as I have 
said ; for if He please out of His grace to give it 
thee on that manner, it shall open and enlighten 
the rea!ion of thy soul, to see verity, that is God, 
and spiritual things. And it shall stir up thy 
iiffectiona wholly and fully for to love Him. And 
it shall work in thy soul only as He will, and 
thou shalt behold Jeaus reverently, nvith softness 
of love, and see how He workeih. Thus com- 
' Perceivtf. 


The Scale of Perfection 

manded He by His Prophet ihat we should d 
ftalmii\\. saying' thus: VucaU <i irnUte ^uoniam ego 

Deui.—Ceose y^t athd sec ihat I am God. Xhat i^* 
ye that are refonned in feeling, and have your 
inner eye opened into sight of spiritual ihingfs, 
cease ye sometime from outward working, and 
see that I am God, That \% see only how I, 
Jesus, God and Man, do ; behold ye Me, for I do 
all, I aiD love, and for love 1 du all that I do, and 
ye do nought. And that this is tnitb, 1 shall 
show you, for there 15 no good deed done by you, 
nor good thought felt in you, but what is donebv^ 
Me. That isi through power and wisdom anoH 
love mightily, wisely and lovely, el^^e it is no 
good deed. But now it is true that I, Jesus, am 
both power and wisdom and blessed love, and 
ye are naught, for I am God. Therefore may 
yoti easily see that 1 do all your good deeds, and 
all your good thciughis, and all your good loves 
in you, and ye do rig-ht nought. And yet, never- 
theless, be all these good deeds called yours. 
Not because ye work them principally, but for 
that 1 give them unto you for love ihat I bear to 
you. And, therefore, since I am Jesus, and for 
love do all this, cease then ye from beholding cf 
yourselves, and set yourselves at naught, anvl 
look on Me, and see that I am God, for I do aJl 
this. This is somewhat of the meaning of tliat 
verse of /)*Kwf before said. 

See then and behold what love worl:eth in a 
chosen sou], which he reformeth in feeiing to his 
likeness, when the reason is enlightened to the 
spiritual knowing of Jesus, and to the feeling of 
His love. Then bringeth love into the soul the 
perfection of virtues, and turneth them all into 
quietness,* and into liking, as it were, without 
• Softaes*. 

The Third Book 


working of the soul ; for the soul striveth not 
much for the getting" of them, as it did before ; 
but ft hath them easily, and feeltth them rest- 
fuily, only through the gift of love, that is, the 
Holy Ghost- And that is a very great comfort, 
and gladness unspeakable, when she feeleCh 
suddenly in herself (and scarce knows how) the 
virtues of humility and patience, sobriety and 
staidness/ chastity and purity and love to her 
neighbour. And all other virtues which were 
sometimes travaillous.t painful and hard for to 
keep, are now turned Into eaainessjl and liking', 
and into wonderful lightness, insomuch that she 
thinketh it no mastery nor difficulty to keep 
every virtue, but it is most pleasing to him to 
keep it, and all this is made by love. 

Other men that stand in the way of common 
charity, and are not yet got so far in grace, but 
work under the command of reason, they sirive 
and fight all day against sins for the procuring 
of virtues; and sometimes they be above, and 
sometimes beneath as wrestlers are. 

I'Tiese men do full well, they have virtues in 
reason, and will, not in savour, nor in love. For 
ihey fight with themselves as it were by their 
own might for them ; therefore cannot they fully 
have rest, nor perfectly the higher hand. Never- 
theless they shall have great reward,! but Ihey 
are not yet humble enough. They have not yet 
put themselves altogether into God's hand, for 
they see Him not yet. But a soul that hath 
spiritual sight of Jesus taketh no great care of 
striving for virtues for that time. He is not busy 
ttbcut them particularly, but he niaketh it all his 



The Scale of Perfection 

business to keep tliat sit^'ht, and that beholding 
of jesus which it hath for lo hold the mind stably 
thereto, and bind hts love only to it, that it fall 
not from it, but forget ^11 other things as much 
as it can. And when it doth thus, then is Jesus 
verily Master against dl sins, and overshadow- 
eth ic with His blessed presence, and getteth it 
all virtues. And the soul is so comforted and so 
borne up with the restful • feeling of love that it 
hath of the sight of Jesus, that it fecleth no gre&t 
disease outwardly. And thus doth love gpnerally 
slajj all sins in a soulj and reformeth it in the new 
feelings of virtues. 


How Love thi^ugh gracious Bcholjingof Juuaalayeth 
all stirrings of Pride i and irakeLh the Soul to lose 
the savoup and delight in all ifarthly Honours f 

£evf fiefffi Nevertheless I shall tell thee more particularly 
^""- how love killeth sins in a soul, and reformeth vir- 
tues. And first of Pride, and the virtue contrary 
thereto^ namely, Humility. Thou must under- 
stand that there be two kind^ of Humility ; one is 
had by working of reason ; another is fell by the 
special g-ift of love. Both are of love, but the 
former love worketh by, and with the reason 
of the souJt and the latter love worketh by her- 
self. The first is imperfect, the other is perfect. 
The first a man feeleth from the beholding of his 
own sins and wretchedness, through the which 
beholding he thinkcth himself unworthy to have 
any gift of grace, or any reward of God, but 
thinltelh it enough that Ha would of His great 
mercy, jfrant him forgiveness of his sins. And 

The Third Book 259 

a-lso he thinketh himself, because of his sins, to 
be worse than the greatest sinner that liveth, 
and that every man doth belter than he. And 
by such beholding thrusteih he himself down in 
his thoughts under all men. And he is busy to 
withsitand the stirring's of pride as much as he 
can, both bodily and spiritual pride, and des- 
piseth himself so that he assenteth not to the 
feeiing"s of pride. And if his heart be taken 
sometimes with il, that it be defiled with vain 
joy of worship and praise from others; or from 
the conceit of his wit, or of any other thing, aa 
soon as he perceiveth it he is displeased with 
himself, and hath sorrow for it in heart, and 
asketh forgiveiiess for it of God, and showeth 
himself to his confessor, and accuseth himself 
humbly, and receivelh his penance- This is good 
humility, but it is not yei perfect humility; for 
It is of souls that are bei^inninc^ and proficintr in 
grace caused by the beholding of their sins. 
Love worketh this humility by reason. 

Perfect humility a soul f*^eleth from the sight 
and spiritual knowing of Jesus ; for when the 
Holy Ghost lighteneth the reason into the sight 
of verity, how Jesus is all, and that He doth all, 
the soul hath 30 great love and so great joy in 
that spirituiil sight (for it is really so indeed) that 
it forgetteth itself, fully leaneth to Jesus with all 
the love that it hath to behold Him, It taketh 
no heed* of any unworthinesss of itself, not of 
sins aforedone, but setteth at nought itivelf, with 
all the sins, and all the good deeds that ever 
it did, as if there were nothing but Jesus. Thus 
was Damd humble when he said thus t Ei sub- ^- HJtuviiL 
sian/ia mffa /i/rr^ufim nthxium anie Te.—And my 


The Scale of Perfection 

Isa. x\ 

sxibsfancc is as nothing before Tk^e. That is, ^"^^^H 
Jesus, the sight of Tliy blessed uncreated sub- 
stance and oi Thine endless Being showeth well 
UTilo me that my substance and being of QJ^H 
soul is as nought in regard of Thee. ^H 

Also, such a soul in respect to his neighbour 
hath no regard to him, nor judging of him, 
whether hr: he better or worse than himaelf; 
for he esteemeih himself and all other men to 
be all alikCi and to be just nought of themselves 
in regard of Gnd (and this is very so). For all 
the goodness that is wrought in himself, or in 
others, is only of God, whom he beholdelh aa 
all in all. And therefore setieth he all other 
creatures at nought, as he doth himself. Thus 
humble was the Prophci when he said thus^H 
Orrjves genJcs qtmsi mm sint sic sttfii coram eo, ^^'^IH 
— Ail nisiious arc before out Ltrrd as if ihey were 
ni>!, end are rcpul/d as nothings* and as a fain 
ihiitg. Iliat is, in comparison t of the endless 
Being, and the unchangeable nature of God, 
mankind is as nought ; for of nought was it 
made, and to nought shall it return, unless 
keep it in its being that made it of noughl 
This is truth, and this should make a sot 
humble, if by grace it could see this truth. 
Therefore when once love openeth the inner 
eye of ihe soul, for lo see this truth, with 
other circumstances that attend it, then be- 
ginneth the soul to be really humble; for then 
through the sight of tjod it feeleth and seeth 
itself as it is ; and then doth the soul fors* 
the beholding and leaning upon itself; ai 
fully falleth to the beholding of Jesus^ 
when it doth so, then sftt^eth the suul nougl 



t Afl4:jitcs. 

The Third Book 


by all the joy and worship of the world, for the 
joy of worldly worship is so little, and 50 rought, 
in regard of that joy and of that love tha.t it 
teeleth in the spiritual sig-ht of Jesus and know- 
ledge of the truth lliat, though it might have it 
without any sin, he would have nothing to do 
with iL No, though men would worship him, 
praise himj and favour him, or set him in great 
&tate> it would nothing at all please him. No, 
though he had great skill in all the seven liberal 
sciences, and of all skill under the sun, or had 
power to work all manner of miracles, yt;i. would 
he take no more delight* in all ihis, nor no more 
savour than to gnaw on a dry stick- lie had 
rather forget all this, and to be alone out of the 
sight of the world, than to think of them and be 
worshipped of all men; for ihe heart of a true lover 
of Jesus is made so much, and so large through 
a. little sight of Him. and a little feeling of His 
spiritual love, that all the liking and all the joy 
of all the earth cannot suffice to fill a corner 
of it. And then appeareth it well that these 
wretched worldly lovers, that are, as it were, 
ravished with the love of their owti worship, 
and pursue after it to have \i with all the might 
and all the wit they have, they have no taste of 
- this Humility, but are wondrous far from it. But 
the lover of Jesus hath this humility lastingly, 
and that not wiih heaviness and striving for it, 
but with liking and glndness* The which glad- 
ness he hath not therefore, because be forsaketh 
the worship of the world, for that were a proud 
humility belonging 10 an hypocrite ; but because 
he hath a sight and a spiritual knowing of the 
verity and worthiness of Jesus through the gift 


The Scolt of Perfection 

of the Holy Ghost- That reverend sight, and 
that lovely beholding: of Jesus comforteth his love 
so wondprfully, and beareih it up so mightily and 
so easily,* that verily it cannot like, nor fully rest 
in any earthly joy, nor would he if he could- He 
maketh no matter whether men praise him or 
diapraUe t him. worship him or despise him ; as 
to himself he sets it not to heart, neither to be 
well pleasedj (for his greater humiliation) when 
men despise him, nor to be displeased when 
men worship him or praise him, He had rather 
forget both the one and the other, and only think 
on Jesus, and get humility by that way> And 
that is much the securer way whosoever can 
attain to it. Thus did Dnvt'd when he said s 

Ah/a xxIv, Ocaii ma semper ad Dommum, i^c. — ^fy eyes art 
akoiiys to the L.ord^ for He shall pluck mv feel oui 
ef the net. For when he doth so, then forsaketh 
he utterly himself, and casteth himself wholly 
Tinder Jesu?', and then is he in a secure guard; 
for the shield of Truth which he holdcth kecpeth 
him so well that he shall not be hurt through 
any stirring of pride, as long as he holdeth him- 
self within the shield. As the Prophet saith: 

/Vfl/m Jic, fi. Scuto circumdabii U verifax cpts^ &c. — Verily shall 
ci/mpass th^e with a shield. And that is, if thou, 
leaving all other things^ only beholdest Him; 
/gt theft shall thou nH drt^d for the niglU's dread; 
that is, thou shalt not fear the spirit of pride, 
whether he come by night or by day, as the next 
verse saith thus : A sagitta 'jotante in die'^Prom 
the arrow that flieth by day. Pride cometh by 
night to assail a soul when it is despised and 
contemned of other men, that thereby it should 
fall into heaviness and into sorrow. It cometh 

' SdEIL;. t Lack. X Well paU. 

The Third Book 


also as an arrow flying' on the day, when a man 
ih praised and worj^hipped of all men ; whether 
it be for wordly doinq' or spiritual, that he should 
have vain joy in liimself, and to rest tliereinj and 
false pladnesa in a thing- that is passing-. This 
is a sharp arrow and a perilous, it fleeth swifdy, 
and it striketh sokly, but it woundeth deadly. 
But the lover of Jeaus, that .■^tably beholdeth by 
devout prayers, and busy thinking on him, is so 
encompassed rtith the safe shield of Truth that 
he dreadeth it noti for this arrow cannot enter 
into his soul. Nay, though it come it hurteth 
him not, but glanceth' away and passeth forth. 

And thus is the soul made humble, as I under- 
stand^ by the working of the Holy Ghost, that is, 
the gift of love; for He openeth the eye of the 
soul to see and love Jesus, and He koepeth the 
soul in that ,sight rescfully and securely; and He 
slayeth all the stirrings of pride wonderfully and 
privily and softly, and the soul knowetht nothow. 
And also He bring-pth in by thai way verily and 
lovely the virtue of humility. All this doth love, 
but not in all lovers alike fully; for some have 
this grace but abort and liltle, as it were in the 
beginning of it, and a little assaying toward it ; 
for Che conscience is not yet cleansed fully through 
grace. And some have it more fully, for they 
have clearer sight of Jesus, and they feel more ot 
this love- And some have it most fully, for they 
have the full g;ift cif ConUmfhilimi. Nevertheless, 
he that hath the least on thih manner that I have 
said, I bope verily he hath the gift of perfect hu- 
mility, for he hath the gift of perfect love. 

GLtiQicib, tWQUcih, 



The Scale of Perfection 

Angtr and 


How Love slayath all slirringa of Wrath and Envy 
easily j* and rcformeth m the Soul the Virtues of 
Peactf and Patience, and of perfect Charity To his 
Neighbour, as He did specJall? in the Apostles 

Love, where it worketh, worketh wisely ard 
easily* in a soul ; for he slayeth mightily anger 
and envy, and all passions of wrath and melan- 
choly in it, and bringt^th into the soul the vir- 
tues of patience and mildness, peaceableness 
and amity to his neighbour. It is full hard 
and a great mastery for a man that standeth 
only in workinjf of his own reasoti to keep 
patience, holy rest and softness in heart and 
charity to his neighbour, when they Hse him 
hardly and do him wrong, that he do not 
through motion or rising of anger or bitter- 
ness t within him something against them, either 
by word or deed, or both. (And nevertheless 
though a man be stirred and troubled in himse 
and made unrestful, if so be it passeth not too 
much the bounds of reason, and that he keep his 
hands and his tongue, and be ready to forgivo 
the trespass when forgiveness is asked, yet this 
man hath the virtue of patience, though it be but 
weak and nakedly- Forasmuch as he de&ires to 
have it, and laboureth busily in restraining his 
urruly passions lo the end that he may have 
it, and also is sorry that he hath it not as he 
should.) But to a true lover of Jesus it is no 

£real mastery for to sulTer all this; for why? 
ove fighteth for him, and slayeth wondrous 



* Softly, t Melancholy. 

The Third Book 


easily such stirrings of wrath and of melan- 
choly ; and maketh his soul so easy and so 
peaceable, so suffering and so goodl}', through 
the spiritual sight of Jesus, with the feeling of 
His blessed love, that though he be despised 
and contemned of other men, or suffer v/rong or 
harm, shame or villainy, he hecdcth* it not. he is 
not much stirred against them; he will not be 
angered nor stirred against them» for, if he were 
miich stirred, he should forego the comforc which 
he feeleth within his soul, but that will he not. 
He can lightlier forget all the wrong that is done 
him than another man can forgive it, though for- 
giveness t was asked him ; and so he had ratherj 
forget it; for he thinketh it most easy lo him. 
And love doth all this, for love openeth the eye 
of the soul to the sight of Jesus, and establisheth 
it with the pleasure^ and content of love that it 
feeleth by that sight, and comforteth it so mightily 
that it takeih no heed IJ whatever men jangle or do 
against him; it restethf nothing upon him ; the 
greatest harm that he can suffer ts a forbearing 
of the spiritual sight of Jesus ; and therefore it 
is better" for him to suffer all harms than that 
alone. All this can the soul do well and easily 
without great disturbing of this spiritual sight, 
when the grievances fall outwardly and touch 
not the body, as do backbitings or scorninga 
or spoiling of his goods. All these grieve him 
nought i but it goeth somewhat nearer when his 
flesl^ is touched, and he feeleth smart, then is it 

Nevertheless, though it be hard and impos- 
sible to the frail nature of man to suffer bodily 

• CUrgcth, f Mcrty. r W«ll kvcr, I L\klag. 


The Scale of Perfection 

penance gladly and patiently, without bitter 
stirrings of ire, anger and melancholy, and vei 
it is not impossible to love, that Js, the Holy 
Ghost for to work thia in a soul, when He 
touchelh it with the blef^sod gift of love. But 
H« giveth a soul that is in iliaL plight mightily 
the feelings of love, and wonderfully fasteneth 
it to Jesu^, and aeparateth it ver> far from sen- 
suality through His secret might, and comforieih 
it so sweetly by Hi5 blessed presence that the 
soul feeleih little pain or else none at all in ihe 
sensual part; and this is a apecial grace gfiven to 
the holy Martyrs. 

This grace had the Apostles, as holy Writ 
saith of them thus : Ib-ini ApostoU gaudentet^ &c. 
AcUt —Tke Apifsiics went from the Council rejtficiHg'y 
when (hry wire heaien •mttk scourge's, and thty wert 
^iad thai they luere accoHnhU Tt'orthy to suffer any 
oodily pain for the love of Jesus, limy were not 
Stirred to anger, nor to bitterness," to be revenged 
on the Jcjjs that beat them, as a worldly man 
would be when he suffered a little harm, were it 
never so little, from his neighbour. Nay, they 
were not stirred to any pride, nor highness of 
mind, nor to disdain or judge the J^Tuf, as hypo- 
crites and heretics are wlio will suffer much 
bodily pain, and are sometimes ready to suffer 
death with great gladness and with mighty will, 
as it were in the name of Jesus, for love of Him. 
Verily, that love and that gladness that they have 
in suffering of bodily mischief rs not of the Holy 
Ghost, it Cometh not from the fire that burneth 
on the High Altar of Heaven, but it Is feigned 
by the enemy, infiamed of hell ; for it is fully 

The Third Book 267 

mingled with the height of pnde, and of pre- 
sumpiion of themselves^ of despite and judging 
and disdaining of those that thus punish them. 
They imagine that all this is charity, and that 
they suffer atL that for the love of God, but they 
are beguiled by the mid-day fiend, 

A true lover of Jesus, when he suffercth hann 
from his neighbour, is so strengthened through 
grace of the Holy Ghost, and is made so humble, 
so patient, so peaceable, and that so really, that 
what harm or wrong soever he sufFereth ^"om 
his neighbour, he still preaervelh his humility, 
he despiseth him not, he Judgeth him not, but he 
prayeth for him in his heart, and hath pity and 
compassion on him much more tenderly than 
of another man that never did him harm ; and 
verily loveth him better, and more fervently de- 
sireth the salvation of his soul, because he seeth 
that we shall have so much spiritual profit out of 
that evil deed of thai man though it be against 
his will. But this love and this meekness is 
wrought only by the Holy Ghost above the 
nature of man in them whom He maketh true 
lovers of Jesus. 


How Love slayplh Covetousncss, Lechery and Glut' 
tony, aad the fleshly delight and savour in all the 
five Bodily Stns^s^ softly and easdy, ihrough a 
gracious beholding of Jeaus 

CovETOUSNESS also is slain in a soul by the Z^w 
working of love, for it maketh the soul so C^^vr^wrtf**- 
covetous of spiritual good and so inflamed to 
heavenly riches that it setteth right nought by 


The Scale ol Perfection: 


all earthly thing's. It hath no more joy Jn th 
hAvirtg of a precious stone than a chalk-stone; 
no more love hath he in an hundred pounds tha.Ti 
in a pound cf lead. It selteCh all things that 
must perish at one price; he heedeth no more 
the one than the other, as to his love -, for he 
knows well that all these earthly things which 
worldly men set so great price by and love so 
dearly must pass away -ind turn to nothing, both 
the thing itself and the love of it. And tberefo. 
he workeih his thoug-ht^ betimes into that judg^ 
ment and esteem of them which they must come 
to hereafter, and so accountelh them as nought. 
And when worldly lovers strive and fight and 
plead for earthly goods, who may first have 
them; the lover of Jesus striveth with no man, 
but keepeth himself in peace, and is well con- 
tented wllh that which he hath, and will strive 
for no more; for he thinketh that he needs no 
more of all the riches on earth than a scanty 
bodily sustenance for to sustain bis bodily life 
withal, as long as it pleaseth God, and that he 
can easily have. And therefore would he have 
no more than he barely needeth for the time, 
that he may freely be discharged from the trouble 
of keeping and spending of it, and fully give his 
heart and his business about the seeking of Jesus 
for to find Him in cleanness of spirit ; for that is 
all his covetousness ; for why f-^nly the clean in 
heart shall see Him. 

Also, the fleshly lovs of father and mother 
and other worldly friends hangeth not upon him. 
It is even cut from his heart with the sword of 
spiritual love, so that ho hath no more affection 
to father or mother, or to any worldly friend than 
he hath to another man, except he see or feel in 
them more grace or more virtue than in other 

The Third Book 


men, or except that his father or mother hath 
the selfsame grace that some other men have. 
But if they be not 5^, then loreth he other men 
better than them, and that is charity. And thus 
doth God's love slay covetousness of the world, 
and bringeth into the soul poverty of spirit. And 
that doth love, not only in them that have right 
nought of worldly g^oods, but also in dome crea- 
tures that are in great worldly state and have 
earthly riches to spend. Love slayeth in some 
of ihem covetousnej^s so far forth that they have 
no more Itking* nor savour in having of them 
than of a straw. No, though it should so happen 
that they should lose them through default of 
those that should look after them, yet set they 
nought thereby. For why ? — the heart of God's 
lover is, through the gift of the Holy Ghost, 
taken so fiiUy with the sight of the love of 
another thing, which is Jesus, and that is so 
precious and so worthy that it will receive no 
other love to rest in it that is contrary thereto. 

And not only doth love this, but also it slay- 
elb the liking of Lechery and ail other bodily 
un cleanness, and bringech into the soul true 
chastity, and tumeth it into liking* For the 
soul feeleth so great delight in the sight of 
Jesus that it liketh for to be chaste, and it is 
no great difficulty to it to keep chastity, for 
therein is most ease and most rest, 

And in the same manner the gift of love 
slayeth the lusts of Gluttony, and maketh the 
soul sober and temperate, and bcareth it up so 
mighlily thai it cannot rest in the liking of meat 
and drink. But it taketh such meat and drink, 
whatever it be, as least hindereth orchargeth the 
bodily complexion, if it can easily come by it; 
nor tor the love of itselt, but for the love oi God. 


siitytlh Clu^ 



The Scale of Perfection 

On this wise the lover of God seeth w^U that he 
needeth to sustain his bodily life with meat and 
drinkj as long as God will suffer them to con- 
tinue together Here, theni will be the discre- 
tion of the lover of Jesus, as far as I understand, 
that hath feeling and working in loi/e, that in 
what manner he may keep his grace whole, 
and be least letted from working in it throug-h 
taking of bodily sustenance, so shall he do. 
That kind of meat, which least letteth and 
least troubleth the heart, and may keep the 
body in strength, be it flesh, he it fish, be it 
bread and ale, that J suppose the soui chooseth 
for to have, if it can come tliereby. For the 
whole business of the soul is to think on Jesus 
with reverent love, constantly, without letting of 
anything, if that it might. And therefore since 
it must needs be letted somewhat and hindered, 
the less it is letted and hindered by meat or 
drink or any other thing the better it is. It had 
rather use the best meat and most costly if it less 
hinder the keeping of his heart, than to take 
only bread and water, if that hinder him more; 
for he hath no reg-ard for to get great merit by 
the pain of fasting, and be put thereby from soft- 
ness and quietness of heart, but all his business 
is for to keep his heart as stably as he can in the 
sight of Jesus and in the feeling of His love. 
And surely I am of the opinion that he may with 
leas lust and liking use the best meat, that is 
good in its kind, than another man that worketh 
all by reason without the special gift of love can 
use the worst. Ever excepting such meat as is 
dressed with art and curiosity only for luat^ for 
such manner of meat cannot at all accord with 
him. And also on the other side, if little meat, 
as only bread and beer, most helpeth and quiet' 

The Third Book 


eth his heart, and keepeth it most in peace, that 
is most acceptable to him for to use ; and, namely^ 
if he feel bis bodily strength sustained thereby, 
ajid have the gift of love wichal. 

And yet doth love more, for it slayeth sloth 
and fleslily idleness, and maketh the soul to be 
occupied m i^oodneas, and, namely, inwardly in 
beholding ot him, by virtue whereof the soul 
hach savour and spiritual delig^ht in praying, in. 
TOediiaiing-T and in all manner of doing that be- 
longeth to him to do according to the state 
he is in, without heaviness or painful bitter- 
ness, whether he be religious or secular. 

Also, it filayeth the vain likings of the five 
bodily senses. As first of the sight of the eyes, 
so that the soul hath no liking in the sight of any 
worldly thing, but feeleth rather pain and disease 
in beholding of it, be it never so fair, never so 
precious, never so wonderful. And, therefore, as 
worldly lovers run out sometimes for to see new 
things, for to wonder at Ihem, and so for to feed 
their hearts with the vain sight of them ; right so 
a lover of Jesus is bujsy for to run away, and 
withdraw himself from the sight of such manndr 
of things, that the inner sight be not letted ; for 
he spirltuaUy seeth another manner of thing, 
which is fairer and more wonderful, and that 
would he not forbear. 

Right on the self-same wise is it of speaking 
and hearing. It is a pain to the soul of a lover 
of Jesus for to speak or hear anything that might 
let the freedom of his heart from thinking on 
Jesus, whatever song, or melody, or music' out- 
ward it be, if it hinder the thought that it can- 
not freely anil restfully pray, or think on him. 

Love iiavetk 


' Min^lrddj. 

ehr Delight oj 
fhe Pivc 


The Scale of Perfection 

it liketh hira right nought. And the moTt 
rJelectable it is to other niRn, the more un- 
savoury it is to him- And also to hear any 
manner of speaking- of other men, unless it be 
somewhat touching the working of his soul into 
the love of Jesus, it liketh him right noug-hc. he 
IS right soon weary of it. He had rather be in 
peace, and hear right nought, nay speak right 
nought, than for to hear the speaking and the 
teaching of the greatest Clerk on earth, with 
all the reasons that he can say to him by human 
wit, except he can speak feelingly and siirrirgly 
of the love of Jesus i forthere lies his skill* princi- 
pally. And therefore woulJ not bespeak of any- 
thing else, nor hear, nor see anything, but what 
might help him, and further him into more know- 
ledge, and to better feeling of Him. 

Of worldly speech it ia no doubt that he hath 
no savour in speaking, nor in hearing of it, nor 
in worldly tales, nor tidings, nor in any such 
vain jangling that belongeth not to Him. And 
the same is of smelling and tasting. The more 
the thoughts are distracted and broken from 
spiritual rest by the use either of smelling, or 
tasting, or of any of the senses, the more he 
avoideth it. The less that he fepleth of thera, 
the better t he is. AAd if he could live in the 
body without the feeling of any of them he 
would never feel them, for the/ trouble the 
heart oft-times, and put it from rest; but they 
cannot fully be eschewed. Nevertheless the 
love of Jesus is sometimes so mighty in a soul, 
that ic overcometh and slayech all that is con- 
trary thereto for a time. 

• Crafi- t Lever. 

The Third Book 



Whit Virtues and Graces a SouJ Kceivtih throtigh 

openiae &f t^c inner eye iaio the gracious Be- 
bolding of Jesus, oad how it cannot be gotten 
only by M^vnS Labour^ but through special Grace 

aod his own Labour also 

Thus worketh love in a soul, opening the 
ghostly eye into the beholding- of Jesus by in- 
spiration of special grace^ and maketb it pure, 
subtle and able to the work of Cante^nplatton. 
What this opening" of the spiritual eye is the 
greatest scholar on earth cannot imagine by his 
wit nor show fully by his tongue; for it cannot 
be gotten by atudy, nor by man's industry alone, 
but principally by grace of ibe Holy Ghost, and 
with human industry, I am afraid to speak 1 
anything of it, for methinketh that I cannot, it 
passeth ray attempt,* and my lips are unclean. 
Nevertheless, because it seems to me that love 
asketh, yea, love biddeth that 1 should, therefore 
shall 1 say a little more of it as I hope love 
teachetb. This opening of the spiritual eye is 
that lightsome darkness and rich nought that 
I spdke of before, and it may be called purify 
cf spirit and spiritual rest, rmturd stillness and 
peace cf canscicnce^ Uizhncss of thought and iatuh- 
rress of soul, a lively fethng of gracji arid re- 
ttraitn^ss t of hearty thdoalchfut sleep of the spouse 
and tasting of heavenly s^njouTj biirning in love 
and shining in lights the gate% of Contemplatum 
and reforming in feeling. All these expressions 
are found in holy writings of divers men, for 


The Scale of Perfection 

every one uf ihem speak^th according to his 
feeJirg in ja;race- And though all these be 
divers in show of words, yel are they all one 
in meaning- and verity ; for that soul which 
through visilin^f of firace hath one of them 
hath all- For why r a soul sighing to see the 
Face of Jesus when it is touched through 
special ^ace of the Holy Ghosl, it is suddenly 
changed, and turned from the state that it was 
in into another manner of feeling. It is wonder- 
fully separated and drawn first into itself, from 
the love and the liking of all earthly things, so 
much that it hath lost the savour of the bodily 
life, and of all things save only Jesus, And 
then is it clean from all the filth of sin, so far 
forth thst the minding of itself, and all other 
inordinate affections to any creature is suddenly 
■washed and wiped away, so that there remains 
no middle thing or impediment betwixt Jesus 
and the soul, but only the bodily life, and then 
it is in spiritual rest. For why? all painful 
doubts and fears, and all other temptations of 
-spiritiial enemies are driven out of the heart, 
that they trouble not, nor sink not into it for 
the time- It is in reiit from the annoyance of 
worldly business, and painful hinclTfiniTes of 
wicked stirrings; but it is full busy io the free 
spiritual working of love. And the more it 
laboureth so, the more rest it feeleth^ 

This restful labouring is full far from fleshly 
idleness and frotn blind security- It is full of 
spiritual workings but it is called rest, for that 
grace loseth the heavy yoke of fleshly love 
from the soul, and maketh it mighty and free 
through the gift of spiritual love for to work 
gladly, sofdy and delectably in all things to 
which ffrace stirrcth it to work in. And there- 

The Third Book 


fore it is called an holy tdlfinesss and a res£ most 
busy, and so it is in regard of stiUness from the 
great crying" of the beastly noise of fle5hly de- 
sires and undean thoughts, Tbis stillness is 
made by the inspiration of the Holy Ghoat 
through the beholding oF Jesus, For why ? Hi^ 
voice is so sweet and so mijrhty that it putteth 
to silence in a soul all the jangling of all other 
speakers ; for it is a voice of power,* softly 
founded in a pure soul, of the which the Propkei 
saith thus : Vox Domini in vtriutf. — The votce (ff Psalm xxviiL 
Gur L{?rd Jesus ts with pcrj.'£r. This voice is a 
lively word, and speedy^ as the Apostle saith: 
Vi-vtis isr s£rmo Dei, &"£. — TAe ^^ord 0/ the Lord ^'ff- iw- 
ts lively and pamerful^ more piercing £/ian any 
STDord is. Through speaking of this word is 
fleshly love slain, and the soul kept in silence 
from all wicked stirrings. Of this silence it is 
said in the Apocalypse thus: Fa£i:jm est stUntium Apcc^^ 
in caslo, ^c. — Siience was made in Heaven as i£ 
were half an hmir. By Heaven is meant a pure 
soul lifted up through grace from earthly love 
to heavenly conversation, and so it is in silence. 
But forasmuch as that silence cannot last whole 
continually by reason of the corruption of the 
bodily nature ; therefore it is compared to the 
time of half an hour, a very short time the 
soul thinketh it to he, though it be never so 
long; and therefore it is but half an hour. 

And then hath it peace in e&nscicnce. For 
whyr Grace putielh out the gnawing, pricking, 
striving and fighting of sins, and bringeth in 
peace and concord, and makeih Jesus and a 
soul both one in full agreement of will. There 
is no upbraiding of sins, nor sharp reproving of 




TKc Scale of Pcrfccti. 

faults made at that time in a soul, for they have 
kissed and are maile friends, and all is furciv 

that was done amiss. 


Thus feeleth the soul, then, with gjeat 
security and great spiritual gladness, and con- 
ceiveih a full gfreat* certainty of salvation by 
this accordmaking ; fur it heareth a secret wit- 
nesfiing of the Holy Ghost to the conscience, 
that he is a chosen son to a heavenly heritage. 
Jiom*Vn\. Thus Si Patd saith i Ipse Spiritm- ft'stimofuum 

per hibet spirt tui fioslro, ^^.— 'I/te H\/ly SpirU h^ar^^A 
eih •mitnest to our spirtf ihni 7Ui' ar£ G^'s sous. j^H 

This witnessing of conscience verily f(H^* 
throujijh grace is the very joy of the snul, as 
the Apostle saith; Gtoria nua est testimonium^ 
a C'n I Qfc^ — My joy is ttic wittiiJ^s vf my conscience: 
and that is, when it wtin^'sspth peace and 
accord, true love and friendship betwixt Jesua 
and a soul. And when it is in this peace, 
then is it in highness of thought. 

When the soul is bound with the love of the 
world^ then is it beneath all creatures; for every- 
fl^ing goeth over it, and bearcth it down by 
mastery, that it cannot see Jesus nor love Him. 
For ever as the love of the world is vain and 
fleshly, right so the beliolding- and thinking and 
using of all creatures is fleshly; and that is ^^ 
thraldom of th& soul. But then through open^^| 
ing of the spiritual eye into Je.^us the love S^ 
turned, and the soul is niised up according to 
its own naciire above all bodily creatures. And 
then the beholding and thinking, and the using 
of them is spiritual, for the love is spiriluaL 
The fioul hath then great discfain to be oberJientf 
to the love of worldly things, for it is high 

The Third Book 277 

set above them thrDug;h grace. It setleth 

nought by all the world. For why ? It will all 

pass away and perish. Unto this highness of 

heart, as lon^ as the soiil is kept therein, 

comech no error nor deceit of the enemy; for 

Jesus is really in sight of the soul at that time, 

and all other things are beneath it. Of thia the 

/^roj^^^f-/ speaketh thus: Accrdat homo ad cor altum Psalm\^^ 

ct cxtliahihir Dens. — Lei a tnun cmnt to a high 

hearl^ and God shall de £XalM, That is, a man 

that throug-h grace Cometh to the hig-hness of 

thought sh^ll see that Jesus is only exalted 

above all creatures, and he In Him. 

And then is the soul thus set aloft, estranged 
from the fellowship of worldly lovers, though his 
body be in the midst among them, full far is 
he parted from carnal affections of creatures. He 
careth not though he never see man, nor speak 
with him, nor have comfort from him, that be 
might for evt?r continue in that spiritual feeling. 
He fcclcth so great famJliariiy* of the blessed 
presence of our Lord Jesus, and so much savour 
of Him, that he can easily for love of Him forget 
the fleshly affection and the fle^ihly mind of all 
creatures. 1 say not that he shall not love nor 
think of other creatures, that he shall think on 
them in fitting time, and see them and love them 
spiritually and freely, not fleshly and painfully 
as he did before. Of this loneliness speaketh 
the }^of-h€t thus: Ducnrn earn in soitfudimm, OmW. 
&C.-'/ Tvill UuJ htr into soiitudc,f mid I will 
speak ti} h^ hi'tirt. That is, the grace of Jesus 
leadeth the soul from iroublcsomej company 
of fleshly desires into loneliness of thought, and 
maketh it foc^et the liking of the world, and 

* Honi?liiic3ib ^ Onclineas. X Noyoui, 



The Scale of PcrfcctI 

soundelh by sweetness of His inspiration words 
of love in the ears of ihe heart, A sou) is 
thus /rwt'/v when it lovetH Jesxis, and attendeth 
f\i[[y to Him, and he halh lo^t the savour and 
the comfort of the world ; and that it may 
better keep this loneiinesSj it fleelh the company 
of men as much as it can ; and ^eketh lotuhn^si 
of body, which helpeth much to the laneiirusi 
of the soul, and to the free working of love, the 
less hindrance that it hath from without of vain 
jangling^, or from within of vain thinking, the 
more free it is in spiritual beholding'. And so 
it is in retiredness* of heart. 

A soul is all without, whilst it is overlaid and 
blinded with worldly love, it is as common as the 
highway, for every stirring which cometh from 
the flesh or from the hend sinketh in or goeth 
through iL But tlien through grace it is drawn 
into the privy-chamber, into the sight of our 
Lord Jesus, and hearelh His privy counsel, and 
is wonderfully comforted in the hearing. Of this 
Istt. niv. speaketh the Prophst thus : Secrttum meum tm'kd^ 
secrelum mmtn mtht. — My privity U me, myfirivifif 
Af m€. l"hat is, the lover of Jesus, throupfh inspi- 
ration of gracCf taken up from outward feeling of 
worldly love, and ravished into the prix-ity of 
spiritual love, yleldeth thanks to Him, saying 
thus : My privity to me. That is, my Lord Jesus, 
Thy privity is showed to me, and privily hid from 
all lovers of the world; for it is called hidden 
Manna, which may easier be asked than told 
what it is. And that our Lord Jesus promiseth 
to His lover, saying thus; Dabo sibs Mmina ahscom' 
Ajw.M ditum^ &i.\ — / wili rive her the hidden Manna 
which no man kncfwctn but he that takslk ii. This 

• Privi^. 

The Third Book 


Manna is heavenly meat, and angels' food, as 
the Scripture saith ; for angels are fully fed 
and filled with clear sight in burning love oi 
our Lord Jesua, and that is Mamm; for we 
may ask VL^hai ii tf, but cannot know ':i'ffai t£ ts. 
But the lover of Jesus is not yet filled here» but 
is fed with a little taste of it, whilst he is bound 
in this bodily life. 

This lasting of this Manna is a lively feeling 
of grace had Ihrojph the opening of the spiritual 
eye- And this grace J3 not another g^race from 
that which a chosen soul feeletb in the beg-inning: 
of his conversion ; but it is the self-same grace, 
only it is otherwise felt and showed to a soul. 
For why? Grace growcth with a soul, and the 
soul groweth with grace. And the dearer that a 
soul is parted from the love of the world, the 
more mighty is its grace, the more inward and 
more spiritual is the showing of th*^ presence of 
our Lord Jeaus come to bo. So that the same 
grace wViich at first lurneth bim from sin, and 
maketh bim beginniny' ;ind profitini^ by R"ifts 
of virtue and exercise of good works» makelh 
him also perfect. And that grace is called a 
Itveiy feeling of grace; for he that hath it 
feeleth it well, and knoweth well by experience 
that he is in grace. It is full lively lo him i for it 
quickeneih the soul wonderfully, and maketh 
it so whole that it feeleth no painful diseasie 
of the body, though it be teeble and sickly- For 
whv r Then is the bodv most mighty, most whole 
and most restful, and tho soul also* Without 
this grace the soul cannot live but in pain -, for it 
thiriketh that it can keep it for ever, and noihing 
can put it away; but it is not so, for it passeth 
awav full ^^asily. Nt^vertlieless though the sove- 
reign feeling passeth away, and is withdrawn, 



The Scale of Perfection 

the virtue* of it stayeth still, and ke^peth ihe 
soul in sobriety, t and maketh it to desire the 
coming- again thereofn 

Gj'*/. V, And this is the ^akrrtg sUep of ihe Spmi^f, of 

the which the Scripture thus ; Egij tiorMntf ei cor 
meum vigtlaL — I sUep^ and my htari wak^h^ 
That is, I sleep spiritually when through ^ace 
the love of the worM is slain in me, and wicked 
stirring's of fleshly desires are dead, irsomuch 
that I scarce feel them. 1 am not held by them, 
my heart is made free. And then it waketh, for 
it is quick and ready to lo^'e Jesus, and see Him, 
The more I sleep from outward tilings, the more 
am I awake in knowing* of Jesus and of inward 
things, I cannot be awiike to Jesus, except I 
sleep to the world. And therefore the grace of 
the Holy Ghost, sbutiirg- the fleshly eye, causeth 
the soul to sleep from worldly vanities, and 
opening the spiritual eye, keepeih it awake lo_ 
the sight of God's majesty covered ^ under i 
cloud of His precious Humanity. As the Gos 
saith of the Apo^iUs, when they were with o 
Lord Jesus in His transfiguration, first they 

Luiei't. slept; ££ cvigsi^fttes vidt/urii majcslaUm.—Thiy 
'waking beheld iJis giory. By sle^p of the Apos4lej 
is understood the dying of worldly love through 
the inspiration of the Holy Ghost; by their 
awaking is understood their CofifentpLitioH of 
Jesus, Through this sleep the aoul is brought 
into rest from the noise of fleshly lust, and 
th'ough waking is raised up to the sight 
Jesus and spiritual things. The more that the 
eyes are shut^ in this manner of sleep from 
the appetite of earthly things, the sharper is 
the inner sight in lovely beholding of heavenly 

■ 11 



t Sadn»>«, : Hdid i Sprrvd. 

The Third Book 


beauty/ This sleeping and this waking doth 
love work through the light of grace in the 
soul of thu lover of our Lord Jesus, 


How sucb apecia] Grace for the Beholding of out 
Lord Jesus is withdrawn sometimes from a 
Soul J and how a Soul is to twha'c herself in 
the Absence and in the Pri^sence of Jesus, and 
how a Soul shall alway desire (as much 3^ 
ta in her) the srocious Presence of Jesus 

Show me then a soul that through inspiration 
of grace hath this opering of ihe spiritual sight 
into the beholding of J&ius that is separated 
and drawn out from the love of the world, so 
far forth that it haih purity and privity of spirit, 
spiritual rest, inward silence and peace of con- 
science, highness of thought, loneliness and 
privity of heart, the waking sleep of the Spouse, 
that hath lost the liking and joys of the world, 
taken with delight of heavenly savour, ever 
thirsting and softly hasting t after that blessed 
presence of Jesus j and I dare boldly* pronounce 
that this so\il burneth all in love, and shintsth 
in spiritual Ught^ worthy to come to the name 
and to the worship of the Spouse; for it is 
reformed in feeling, made able and ready to 
ConUmpiciti\in. These are the tokens of inspira- 
tion in opening of the spiritual eye. For when 
the eye is opened, the soul is in fiili feeling of 
all the aforesaid virtues for that time. 

Nevertheless it falleth out oftentimes that TTirStaU 
grace withdraweth in part by reason of the "/ ^riditifa. 

* Furhnd. t Hi^hLnK. ] Hardly. 


The Scale of Perfection 

corruption of man's frailty, and sufferetb then 
the soul to fall into itself in aensualiiy,* as il was 
before ; and then is the soul in pain and in 
sorrow, for it is blind and unsavoury and can do 
no good. It is weak arnl impotent, encumbered 
with the body and all the bodily senses. It 
aeekeUi and desirelli after the gvikce of Jesus 
again, and it cannot find it ; for the Scripture 
/ebxTixW. saith thus of our Lord: Posti^tujm vulfum suum 
ahsconiitrit, &c. — Wfurt mir Lord hath hid His 
face^ ihi:r£ ts none that can hthold Him. "When He 
showeth His face, the soul cannot but see Him, 
for He is li^hl ; and when He liideth Himselfj it 
cannot see llim, for the soul is dark. 

His hiding is but a subtle trying- of the souL 
His showing is a wonderful merciful goodness in 
comfort of tlie soul. Wonder not though the 
feeling's of grace be sometimes withdrawn from a 
lover of Jesus ; for liolv Writ saith the same of 
the Spouse^ that it fareih thus with her : Qussivi 

'CrtnL iii, ct non invmi zUum, iifc. — / scuM Him, and 
I found Him riot; I ciittat^ aim He ^nswtf/d 
not. That 13, when 1 fall doxvn to my frailty and 
sin, then grace witlidraweth ; for my falling is 
the cause thereof, and not His flying, but then 
feel I pain of niy wretchedness in His absence. 
And, therefore, I sought Him by great dt-sire of 
heart, and He gave to rac not so much as a 
feeble answer. And then I cried with all my 

C*t/tt. \i. soul; Jientrtrre, dikct£ rm — Turn agnin^ Thou my 
hehwcd. An:l yet lie seemed as if He heard me 
not. The painful feeling- of myself, and tlie 
assailing of fleshly loves anJ fears in this time, 
and the wanting of my spiritual strength is a 
continual crying of ray soul to Jesus- And 

* Fl«ih]y h«ed. 

The Third Book 

nevertheless our Lord maketh strange, and 
comeili not^ cry 1 never so fast ; for He is sure 
enough of His lover, that he will not turn ag^iin 
to worldly loves quite ; he can have no savour in 
them, and, therefore, slayeth He the longer. 

But al the last when He pleasethj He cometh 
again full of gr^ce and faithfulness/ and visiteth 
the soul that languisheth throug-h desire, by 
sighings of love after His presence, and toucheth 
it, and anointeth it full gently t with the oil of 
gladness, and maketh it suddenly whole from all 
pain. And then crieth the soid to Jesus in a 
spiritual voice with a glad heart thus: Oleum 
effu^nm N&men tnum. — Tky Name is as oil p&iired ^*'"'' ^' 
out. ITiy Name is Jesus, that is, health. Then 
as long as I feel my soul sore and sick by reason 
of ein, pained with the heavy burthen of my 
body, sorrowful and fearful for perils and 
wretchedness of this life, so long. Lord Jesus, 
Thy Name is oil shut up, not pcured forih^ But 
when I feel my soul suddenly touched with the 
light of Thy grace, healed and cured J from all the 
filth of sin, and comforted in love and in light 
with spiritual strength and gladness unspeakable, 
then can I say with lusty, loving and spiritual 
might to Thee : Thy A'umt^, O y^'su, is to me oil 
poured fi>rtk. For by the effect of ITiy gracious 
visitation 1 feel well the true exposition of Thy 
Name, that Thou art Jesus, healthy for only Thy 
gracious presence healeth me from sorrow and 
from sin, 

Happy 15 that soul that is ever fed with feel- 
ing of love in His pre'ience, or is borne up by 
d**5Lre to Him in His absence. A wise lover is 
he, and well taught, that soberly and reverently 

* SoihfkaLDCu. tSoAly. X Sofled. 


The Scale of Perfection 

fas. 1. 

behaveth himself in His presence, and lovely 
beholdeth Him without dissolute lightness, and 
patiemly and easily beareth His absence wichoul 
venomous despair and over painfuj bitterness. 

This chargeability of the absence and pre- 
sence of Jesus, which a soul feeleth, is neither 
the perfection of the soul nor is it contrary to the 
grace of perfection or of Cmttemplatsmi^ but only 
a state of less perfection ; for the more letting 
that a soul hath of itself from the coniiant feeling 
of grace, the less is the grace ; and yet, neverthe- 
less, is the grace in itself grace of Ct/n/trnf^inftim, 
This changeability of absence and presence 
falleth as well in the state of perfection as in the 
state of beginning, but after another manner; 
for even as there is diversity of feeling in the 
presence of grace betwixt these two slates, right 
SO is there in the absence of grace. And, there- 
fore» he that knowelh not the absence of ^►^race is 
apt to be deceived. And he that maketh* noi 
much of the presence of grace is unthankful f to 
the visiting thereof, whether he be in tlie state of 
beginners or of the perfect. Nevertheless, the 
more stableness that there is in grace unhurt and 
unbroken, the lovelier is the soul, and more like 
unto Him in whom ts no cfi(tJigtif>Icu£'ss^ as the 
Afosfle saith. And it is very meet that the 
Spouse should be like her Bridegroom Jesus in 
manners and in virtui^s, fully according to Him in 
atableness of perfect love- But that falleth out 
seldom here in Spouses of this life; for he that 
perceiveth ro changeableness in the feeling of 
his grace, but is all alike, whole, stable, unbroken 
and unhurtf as he thinketh, he is either very per- 
fect or very blind. Ha is perfect if he be se- 

KecpB not, t Unkind, 

The Third Book 285 

questercd from all camal affections and inclina- 
tions* to creatures^ and hath all hindrancest of 
CDiTuption and of sin betwixt Jesus and his soul 
broken away, and is fully linitedf to Him with 
softness of love. But this is only from grace 
above man's nature. Or he is very blind if ho 
iiraginech himself to be in grace without 
spiritual feeling of God's inspiration, and setteth 
himself in a way of sLableness, ai if he were ever 
in feeling and in working of special grace, 
imagining all to be grace which he doth, and 
feeleth, both inwardly and outwardly, thinking 
that whatsoever he doth or apealceth is grace, 
holding himself unchangeable in speciality of 
grace. If there be any such, as I hope there ia 
none, he is full blind in feeling of grace 

But thou mavest object : That we ought to 
live only by Faith, and not covet spiritual feel- 
ings, nor reg.^rd them if ihey come ; for the 
Apostie saith; Ihe ju^t sh<ill itve by faith. U^h, s. 

Unto thi-s I answer that bodily feelings, be 
they never so comfortable, are not to be desired 
nor regarded much if they come; but spiritual 
ft*lings, such as I have spoken of, if they come 
in that manner as J have said, should ever be 
dfisired. I mean the killing of all worldly love, 
the openintj of the spiritual eye» purity of spirit, 
peace of conscience and all other spoken of 
before> We should ever covet to feel the lively 
inspiration of grace made by the spiritual pre- 
sence of J^sus in our souls, if we could. And for 
to have Him in our sight with reverence, and 
ever fesl the sweetness of His love by a wonder- 
ful familiarity of His presence. This should 
be our life and our feelirg in grare after the 


The Scale of Perfection 

measure of His gift in whom all grace is, to some 
more and to some less; for His presence ia felt 
in divers mariiiers as He pleaseih. And !□ this 
we should live and work IhaC which belongeth to 
us to workt for without thb we should not be able 
to live spiritually. For as the soul is the life ot 
the body, right so is Jesus the life of the aoul by 
His gracious presence. 

And, nevertlieless, this manner of feeling-, 
though it be never so much^ is but in faith in 
comparison of that which shall be of the self- 
same Jesus in the bliss t»f Heaven. Lo, this 
feeling should we desire ; for every reasonable 
soul ought to covet, with all its power, ta 
approach to Jesus, and to be united to Him 
through feeling of His gracious invisible pre- 
sence- How that presence is felt may belter be 
kno\vn by experience than by any ^uTiting; for it 
is the life and the love, the miii'ht and the light, 
the joy and the rest of a chosen soul. And, 
therefore, he that hath once truly felt it cannot 
forbear it without pain, neither can he choose but 
desire it, it is so good in itself and so comfortable. 
What is more comfortable here for a soul than to 
be drawn out Through grace from the coisomeness 
of worldly business and filth of desires^ and from 
vain affection of all creatures, into rest and soft- 
ness of spiritual love, secretly perceiving the 
gracious presence of Jtjsus, and feelingly fed 
with the savour of His invisible blessed Facer 
Verily, I think nothing can make the soul of 
a lover full of mirth but the gracious presence of 
Jesus, as He can show Himself to a pure soul; 
such an one is never heavy, never sorry but when 
he is with himself in sensuality. He is never full 
glad, nor merry, but when he is out of himself as 
being with Jesus in spirit. 

The Third Book 


And yet Js that no full mirth, for there ever 
hangeth a heavy lump of bodily corruption on 
his soul, and b^areth it down, and hindereih 
much the spiritual gfladness, and this must ever 
be whilst it is here in this life. But whereas 
1 have before spoken of ihe changeability of 
grace, how it cometh and goeth. thai thou mis- 
take me not ; thou must understand tliat I mean 
not of common grace, that is had and felt in faith 
and in goodwill to God ; without having and 
lusting of which, and continuing in it, none can 
be saved; for it is in the least chosen soul that 
liveth. But I mean of special grace felt by 
inspiration of the Holy Ghost in that manner as 
I have said before. Common grace, which is 
Charity^ lasteth whole whatsoever a man doth, as 
long as his will and" bis intent is true to God, 
which will of his keepeth him from sinning 
deadly, and the deed that he wittingly doth is 
not forbidden under a mortal sin ; for this grare 
3S not lost but by mortal sins. And then is a sin 
mortal when his conscience witnesseth with 
deliberation that it is mortal sin, and yet never- 
ihelfss he doth it; or else his conscience is ^o 
blinded that he holdeth it no deadly sin, alihouj^h 
he doth the deed wilfully, which is forbidden by 
God and holy Church as a deadly sin. 

Special grace felt through the invisible pre- 
sence of Je-sus, which maketh a soul a perfect 
lover, la^teth not ever alike whole in the height 
of ftelinp, but changeably cometh and goeth, as 
I have said before. Thus our 1 ord saith ^ 
Sptrtius uhi vidl sptrat^ &c. — The spirit blou'^fh S^MniB. 
•miiere tt hsfcih, and ihim. hesrtsl His voter, bui //tcu 
knff^t'fsi noi whence He comfth^ nor whtfhet IJa 
gviih^ He Cometh secretly sometimes when thou 
art lea^t aware of Him, but thou ahalt know Him 


The Scale of Pcrfccti* 

full well ere He go ; for He wDnderfuUy stirretli 
and mightily tumeth thy heart into tlie beholding 
of His goodness, and then doth ihy heart melt 
delectAblyas wax against the fire mlo soreness of 
His love, and this is the voice that He soundeth. 
But then He goeth ere thou percelvesc. for H^™ 
withdraweth Himself somewhat, not wholly a^H 
together, bill from excess into moderation.^^ 
The height of feeling passeih, but the substance 
and the effect of Grace dwelleth still. And that 
is as long as the soul of a lover keepeth himself 
pure, and falleth not wilfully into wretchedness 
or carelessness t in sensuality, nor to ouiwai 
vanity, as sometimes it doth [though it hai 
no delight therein) out of frailty. This is tl 
changeability of grace which I meant ai 
spake of. 


A Commendation of Prayer cfferfd up to Jesus 
a Contemplative Soul, and how siableness 
Prayer is a secure work to stand ini and hi 
every Feeling o£ Grace in a chosen Soul may be 
called Je«us, But the more clean ihe SouJ la, ij 
more worthy ihe Grac? ia 

The 5ou1 of a man, whilst it is not touched wit 
special grace, is blunt and gross for spiritui 
work, and can do nought therein. It skilleth n* 
thereof by reason of its weakness. It is both oh 
and dry, undevout and unsavoury in itself. But 
then Cometh the light of grace^ and through 
touching maketh it sharp and subtle, ready and 
able to spiritual work, and givoth it a great 

* Sobriely. t DiaaaJiilion. 

The Third Book 


dom and a perfect readiness in will to be pliable" 
to all the sLirrings of grace, rtady to work after 
that grace atirreth the souL For by opening of 
the spiritual eye it is wholly applied to grace, 
ready to pray. And how ihe soul then prayeth I 
shall tell thee» 

The most special prayer that the soul useth 
and hath most comJort in, 1 suppose, is the Paisr 
nosier or else /'saims of the Psalitr^ The Paier 
nosiit foT unlearned men ; and Psaims and 
Hymns and other sen-ice of holy Church for the 
learned. The soul prayeth, therefore, not in that 
manner as it did before, after the common way of 
men by highness of voice, or by reasonable 
speaking out ; but in fiill gjeat stillness of voice 
and softness of heart. For why r His mind ia 
not troubled nor hindered with outward thingSj 
but wholly gathered together into itself. And 
the soul is set, as ii were, in the spiritual pre- 
sence of Jesus, and, therefore, every word and 
every syliable is sounded savourly, sweetly and 
delectably, with full accord of mouth and of 
heart. For why } The soul is then turned all 
tnio the fire of love. And, therefore, every word 
that it secretly prayeth is like a spark rising out 
of a burning fire, which ht-ateth f all the powers of 
the soul, and turneth ihem into love, and en- 
lighteiieih them so conifurtably that the soul 
listeih ever to pray and to do nothing else. The 
more it prayeth ihe better it may, and the 
mightier it is. For grace helpeth the soul well, 
and makcth all things light and easy, that it 
delighteth to chant and sing the praises J of God 
with spiritual mirth in heavenly delight. This 
spiritual work is Xhr food of the soul, and this 

HiiKDiJi- t Cb^flelL iLovinK*' 


PxMlm tvX. 


The Scale of Perfection 

prayer Is of grreat virtue, for it wastcth and 
bringeth to nought all secret and open tempta- 
tions of the enemy, and slayeln all the mind 
and all the liking 0I the world and of flf*shly sins. 
It lieareth up the body and the soul from painful 
feeling uf die w retc lied n ess of this life. It keep- 
eth the soul in the feeling- of grace and working 
of iove, and nourisheth it ever alike hoi, as sticks 
nounshech the fire. It putteth away all irksotne- 
nes5 and heaviness of heart, and holdeth it i^^ 
strength and spiritual gladness. ^H 

Of this pn^yer speak eth David i^\^^^ : Z>irigi^^ 
iur oraho mca stcui incaisum, &c. — Lei mi prayer 
be dressed as incense :n Thy sight. For even as 
incense that is cast into the fire makeih a sweet 
smell by the smoke rising up to the air, right so 
a Psfilm savoudv and softly sung or said ia a 
burning heart, giveih up a sweeL smell to the 
face or our Lord Jesu^ii and 10 all the Court of 
Heaven. There dare nn fle&h-fly rest upon the 
pot's brink boiling on the fire. Ev'en so can no 
fleshly dciieht rest upon a clean soul, that is all 
bilapped * and warmed in the fire of iove, boiling 
an'l bIowii>g up Psaitns and prayers to Jesus. 
This prayer is always heard of Jesus. It yieldelh 
grace to Jesus, and r^eiveih grace again. It 
makeih a soul familiar.t and, as it were, hail- 
ffllow wiih Jeiius, and with all the Angels in 
Heaven, use it who so can. The Wf^rk is good 
and gracious in ilself. And though it be not 
alto^if^ther perfect Confer /•hiiOH in itself, nor the 
working of love by itself, nevertheless it is in 
part Contfmpliitioii. For whv \ It cannot be 
exercised in this manner but by plenty of grace 
thruugh opening of the spiritual eye. And, 

■ Happed. t Homely* 

The Third Book 


therefore, a soul that hath this hreedom and this 
gracious feeling in praying with spiritual savour 
and heavenly delight hath the grace of Ccn- 
tcmplation in the manner as it is. 

This prayer is a rich offering filled all with 
fatness of devotion, received by Angels and pre- 
sented to the face of Jesus. The prayer of other 
men, who are busy in active works, 13 made of 
two words; for they oltentimes form in their 
hearts one word through thinking' of worldly 
business, and speak with their mouth another 
word of the Psalm sung or said. Yet, neverthe- 
lessj if his intent be true his prayer 13 good and 
acceptable, though it lack savour and sweetness- 
But this prayer of a Contemplative man is made 
bur of one word ; for as it is formed in the heart, 
right so doth it wholly sound in the mouth, as it 
were nothing but one and the same thing-, botk 
which formeth it and which soundeth it. And 
verily no more it is, for the soul» through grace, 
is made whole in itsel J so far parted from sensu- 
ality,* that it is master of the body, and then is 
the body nothing else but as an JnsUunjent and 
a trumpet of the soul in the which the soul 
bloweth sweet notes of spiritual prayers to Jesust 
This is the trumpet that Davjd spake of thus: 
Bucctnatc in ncomenta^ &€, — Bii?w yc th£ trumpet 
in the new mtwn^ TliaC is, ye souls that are 
reformed in spiritual life through opening of the 
inner eye, blow ye devoutly the sounding of 
FsalfHS with the trumpet of your bodily tongue. 
And, therefore, since this prayer is pleasant to 
Jesus, and so profitable to the soul, it is good for 
him who is new converted to God (and desires to 
please Him, and coveteth to have some quaint 

fjolm Lxix, 

Fl«hty heecL 

2^2 The Scale of Perfection 

feeling of g^race) to covet this feeling, ihat he may 
through gr3.ce come to this liberty of spirit and 
offer his prayers and his Psalms to Jesus con- 
tinually and stably and devoutly, with whole 
raind and burning affection towards Him, so that 
he may be ready for it through custom when 
grace will stir him up thereto. This is a secure 
ieeling, and a true one. If thou canst attain unto 
it and keep it, thou shalt not need to run about 
here and there and ask questions of every spiri- 
tual man what thou should^t do, how thou 
shouldst love God, and how thou shouldst senrft 
(rod, and speak of spiritual matters, that pass 
thy understanding, as perhaps some do: Such 
kind of doings are not profitable unless in case 
of necessity. Keep thee to thy prayers, quietly 
at iirst with thy own great industry, that thoa 
mayest afterwards come to this restful feeling of 
spiritual prayer, and that sliall teach thee wisdom 
enough in verity witliout feigning or fancy; and 
hold thee on in such prayer if thou hast gotten 
it and leave it not i but if cr^ce come otherwise, 
and removeth it from thee for a time, causing 
thee to work on another manner, then mavest 
thou leave it for a time, and after return again 
thereto. And he that hath this grace in prayer 
asketh not whereupon he should set the point of 
his thought in his prayer, whether upon the 
words that he spcaketh^ or else on God, or on 
the Name of JesuSj as some ask, for this feeling 
of grace will teach him well enough. For why: 
The soul is turned into the eye, and sharply be- 
holdeth the face of Jesus, and is ascertained that 
it is Jesus that it fceleth and seeth. 1 do not 
mean Jesus as He is in Himself, in fulress of 
His blessed Godhead \ but I mean Jesus, as He 
v^ pleased to ^how Himself to a clean soul, yet 


The Third Book 393 

in the body accordtrff to tlie clcannesi that it 
hath. For thou must know that every feeling of 
grace is Jesus, and may be called Jesus. And 
accarding* as the grace is more or \e^s, so feelech 
the soul more or less of Jesus. Yea, the first 
feeling' of special grace in a beginner^ which is 
called grace of compunction and contrition for 
his sins, is verily Jesus. Far why ? He causeth 
that contrition in a soul by His presence. But 
Jesus is then very grossly and rudely felt, very 
far from this spiritual subtlety \ for the soul can 
nor may do no better by reason of its unclean- 
ness. Nevertheless, afterward^ if the soul profit 
and increase in virtues and in cleanness, the 
same Je^us, and none oiher, is seen and felt by 
the same soul \\hen it is touched with grace ; 
but that is more spiritually, and nearer to His 
Divinity. And verily that is the chiefest thing 
that Jesus loveth in a soul, that it may be made 
spiritual and divine in sight and in love, like to 
Him in grace, as He is by nature! for that shall 
be the end of all lovers. 

Then mayest thou be secure, that at what 
time thou feel est thy soul stirred by grace, 
?ipecially in that manner as I have said be- 
fore, by opening of thy spiritual eye that thou 
seest and feelesC Jesus, hoJd Him fast whilst 
thou may, and keep thyself in grace, and let 
Him not easily go from thee. Look after rone 
other Jesus but that same, by feeling of that 
self-same grace more divinely that it may in- 
crease in thee more and more. And be not 
afraid, though Jesus whom thou feelest be not 
Jesus as He is in His fiill Godhead, that thou 
therefore mayest be dtc<Mved if thou trust to 
that feeling. But trust thou well, if thou b« 
a lover of Jesus, that thy feeling is true, and 


The Scale of Perfection 

that Jesus IS truly felt and seen of thee throu£;h 
HU grace as Ihou canst see Him here. And 
therelore trust fully to thy feeling when it is 

gracious and spiritual, and keep it tenderly, and 
have great dainty, not of thyself, but of it, that 
thou mayest see and feel Jesus ^ti^ better and 
better. For grace shall ever teacli thee by 
itself, if thou wilt fall thereto, till thou come 
to the end. 

But perchance thou beginne-st to wonder why 
X say one time that grace worketh all this, and 
another lime that love wtirkelhT or God worketh ^ 

UiHo thi^ I answer thus; That when I say 
that grace worketh, I mean both love, and Jesus, 
and God; for all is one, and nought but one; 
Jesus is love,* Jesus is grace, Jesas is God. And 
because He worketh all in us by His grace for 
love, as He is God, therefore may I use which 
of these four words I Hst after my stirring in this 


How a Soul through the oppning of the splrirital Eyf 
receiv«th i ffracious Love enabling to understand 
the Holy Scripturcsj and how Jesus, that la hid 
in the Holy Scriptures, showeth Hijnself to His 

"When a soul thus feeleth Jesus in prayer, he 

thinkeih that he shall never feel otherwise. 
Nev#?rtheless it happeneth that sometimes grac6 
puiteth vocal prayer to silence^ and stiireih the 
soul to see and to feel Jesus in another manner. 
And that manner is first to see Jesus in the holy 
Scriptures ; for Jesus, who is all truth, is hid and 
covered therein, folded in a soft Syndon, under 

* t Jobn if. 

The Third Book 


fair words, that He cannot be known nor felt but 
of a clean heart. For why f Truth will noi show 
itself to enemies, but ta friends, thai love and 
de.sire it with an humble heart. For Truth and 
Humility are full true Sisters> fastened tog-ether 
in love and charityj and there is no di>lai'ce of 
counsel betwixt them two. Humility presumeth 
upon Truth, and not at all on itseh; and Tnitli 
esteemeth well of Humility^ so they accord well 
together. Then forasmuch as the soul oi a lo^'er 
is made humble through inspiration of grace by 
opening- of Che spiritual eye, and seeth that it is 
nought of itself, but only hangeth on the mercy 
and the goodness of Jesus perpetually, being- 
borne up by the favour and help of Him only, 
and truly desiring' His presence, thereiure seelh 
it Jesus i for it seeth the truth ot holy Scriptures 
wonderfully showeJ and opened above study and 
industry and reason of man's natural wit. And 
that may well be called iKe feeling and the per- 
ceiving of Jesus- For Jesus is the fountain of 
Wisdom i and by pouring down of His Wisdom 
into a clean soul, by little and litiie, He maketh 
the soul wise enough for to underKiand all holy 
Scripture; not all at once in special beholding, 
but through that grace the soul receiveth a new' 
ability and a gr.tcious habit 10 understand it, 
particularly when it com^th tu mind. This open- 
ing and this cleanness of understanding is made 
by the spiritual pre^ente of Jesus: tor ri>*^ht as 
the Gospel saith of the two Disciples going 10 
EmmatiSt burning in deaire and speaking of our 
Lord Jesus, our Lord appeared 10 thrm pre- 
sently as a pilgrim, and taught ihem the pro- 
phecies of Himself. And as the G(?ip-l ^ailh: 
Aperutt tihs s^nsum, ^c. — He opined their 7vt/<. st Lntt-c^v 
that ihcy mi^hi und^nlmU ihc Scnjfiurts. Right 


The Scale of PcrfccHor 


5o the spiritual presence of J«ua openeth the wit 
of His lover. That \x burnerh in desire to Hira. 
and briogeth to His mind by ministration of 
AngelSj the words and sentences oi hnly Writ 
unsought and unconsidered one after another, 
and expoundelh them rcadiiv, be they never io 
hard nor so secret. The harder they be. and 
farther from man's understanding by reason, the 
more delectable is the true showing of them. 
When Jesus is the teacher, it is expounded and 
declared liieraih. trnfralh, myiUcally and heavmly^ 
if the matter wiU bear :t- By the iitinsl (which 
is the ea^ieat and plainest) corporal nature U 
comforted. By the viorai^ the soul is informed 
concerning vices and virluest to be able wisely 
to distinguish the one from the other- By tftc 
mysticai it is enlif^fhtened to see the works of 
Jesus in holy Church, readily to apply the 
words of holy Writ to f'hrist our head, and to 
holy Church, which is His mystical body. The 
fourth, which is heavenly^ belongeth only to the 
workintr of love, and that is, when all truth in 
holy Writ is applied to love. And because this 
is most like to heavenly feelii^g, therefore I call 
it heavenly. 

The lover of Jesus is His friend, not for that 
he deservelh it. but because Jesus of His merciful 
goodness maketh him His fnend by true accord. 
And therefore to him He showeth His secrets, as 
to a true friend that p)easeth Him by love, not 
serveth Him through fear in slavery. Thus He 
saith Himself to His Ap&slles: Jam vos ^I'xi 
arnicas t^aia ^ua^iumqt4£ attdivi a Pain niio iwiti 
fe£i votis.^j\'€f:v hav^ I caHed you frtends^ for I 
ho-ve made known unh ytttA all (hat I have heard 
ef the Fiither. To a clean soul whose palate is 
purified &om blth of fltf^hJy love, holy Writ 



The Third Book 


lively food and sustenance ddectable. Itsavout- 
ech wonderful sweetly when it is well chewed by 
spiritual undprstandrng. For why^ The spirit 
of life is hid therein, that quickeneth all the 
powers of the soul, and fiJleth them lull of 
sweetness of heavenly savour and spiriiual de- 
light. But verily he must have white teeth, 
and sharp, and well picked, that c^in bite of 
This spiritual bread ; for fleshly lovers and 
heretics may not touch the inward flour of it. 
Their teetli are bTocdy, and full of filih, there- 
fore must they be lasting from feeling of this 
bread, By teeth J understand the inward 
senses of the soul, which in fleshly lovers and 
heretics are bloody, full of sin and worldly 
vanities. They would, but they cannot come 
through curiosity to the truth in knowing of 
holy Writ; lor their senses are corrupted by 
original and actual sin, and are not yet healed 
through grace. And therefure they do but ynaw 
upon the outward bark, spealc they never so 
much thereof. The inner savour within they 
taste not of They be not humble, they be not 
pure for to see it. They be not friends to Jesust 
and therefore He showeth them not His counsel. 
The mystery of holy Writ Is closed under a key, 
and sealed with a signet of Jesus' fing-er, which 
is the Holv Ghost, and therefore without His 
love and His leave may none come inn He 
alone hath the key of skill* in His keeping, as 
holy Writ saith, and He Hiirself is the key; /^n. miK. 
and He letletli in whom He will by inspiration 
of His grace, and breaketh not the seal. 

And this doth Jesus to Plis lovers, but not to 
all alike, but to them that are specially inspired 

* Cuanifif , 


The Scale of Perfection 

for lo ieelc Truth in holy Writ, with great de- 
votion in praying, and with much bu^-.mess in 
stmlying going htfore. These may come to the 
finding oi ii, when our Lord will be pleased to 
show It, See now, then, hove grace openeth 
the bpiricual eve, and cleareth the senses of the 
soul wonderfully above the frailty of corrupt 
nature- It giveth the soul a new ability whether 
it wLil read holy Writ, or hear it» or meditate m 
it, for to understand truly and savourly the truth 
of it in the manner aforesaid; and also for to 
turn readily all reasons and words that are lite- 
rally spoken in spiritual undersianding-. And 
that is no great wonder, for the same Spirit that 
made the Scripture.^, expoundeth It and declareth 
it to a clean soul for its comfort — namely, the 
Holy Ghost. 

And this grace may be, and is, as well in lay- 
men as in the learned, as to the substance and 
true feeling" of the verity and spiritual savouf 
of it in geiieral, though they see not so many 
reasons in special; for thni needeih not. And 
when the soul is thus enabled, and enlightened 
thrcjugh grace, then he cliooseth to be alone 
sometimes, out of the letting and meddling with 
all creatures, that he ma> freWy exercise his 
instrument, which I call his reason of beholding 
of verity which is contained in holy Scriptures. 
And then will there fall into his mind words 
and reasons and senses enough to busy him, 
and that lull orderly and lull seriously. And 
what comfort and spiritual delight, what savour 
and sweetness a soul i-an then leel in that 
spiritual exercise through divers illuminatiors, 
inward perceivings, secret knowings and sud- 
den touchings ot the HoSy Ghosi, a \oul can 
only know by experiencei and not otherwise. 


The Third Book zgg 

And I hope ihat he shall not err, if so be his 
teeth, that is his inward senses, be kept white 
and dean from spiritual pride, and from curiosity 
of his natural wit. I believe David felt full greai 
delight in this manner of working, when he said 
thus ; Quam duicta faucihus mas elotjuia Tua, 
&€, — Hmu swift are Thy '.vords unto my taste I PsalmcxfAiL 
swteUr than honey to my mouth. That is. Lord 
Jesus, Thy holy words endlled in ho]y Writ, 
brought to my mind by grace, are sweeter to 
my taste, that is the affections of my soul, than 
honey is to my mouth. Verily this U a fair 
work without painful travail for to see Jesus 
thus. This is one manner of sight of Jesus, as 
I said before; not as He is, but clothed under the 
likeness of works and of words, per sp€cuium, m 
anigmate.^In a gtuss^ and by a ttk^russ^ as the ' '^'^ '^'' 
Apostle saitK Jesus is endless might, wisdom 
and goodness, righteousness, truth, holiness 
and mercy. And what this Jesus is in Him- 
self can no soul see nor hear; but by the effects 
of His working may be seen through the light 
of grace. As thus, His might is seen by mak- 
ing' of all creatures of nothing-; His wisdom 
in orderly disposing of them ; His goodness 
in saving of them ; His mercy in forgiveness 
of sins i His holiness in gifts of grace; His 
righteousness In severely punishing of sin ; His 
gentleness in true rewarding of good works* 
And all this is expressed in holy Writ, and 
this a soul seeth there with all other attributes 
that pertain thereto. And be thou well as- 
suredj Chat such gracious knowings in holy 
Writ, or in other writings, which are made by 
the assistance of God's grace, are nought else 
but sweet letters sent and made betwixt a 
loviny *oul and Jesus the beluved. Or eise. 


The Scale of Perfection 

that I may speale truUtr, betwixt Jesus the true 
lover and the scuU beloved of Him- He hath 
full great tenderness of love to all hit chosen 
children, that arc here closed in clay of this 
bodily life. And therefore, though He be absent 
from them, hiph, hid above in the hosom of the 
Father, filled with the delights of the Blessed 
Godhead, yet notwithstanding' He thinketh upon 
iheni, and visileth thera full oft ihroug^h Hia 
gracious spiritual presence, and comforteth thera 
by His letters of holy Writ, and dnveth out of 
their hearts heaviness and wearisoineness, doubts 
and frars, and maketh them truly g'L^d and merry 
in Him, believing in all His promises, and humbly 
continuing fulfilling His will. 
Som. XV. S^ Paul saith thus; Qutxcumqut scrt^ia sunt, 

&C. — Wka/sa/rver things art wrtf/trtj are writitrt 
for our tnstructiont that tvf Might have hffp^ through 
the Ci'mfort of the Scrtptures. And this is another 
work of CotitetKplattony to see Jesus in the Scrip- 
tures after the opening of the Npiritual eye. The 
cleaner the sight is in beholding, the more com- 
forted is the affection in tasting-. A full HttJe 
savour felt in a clean soul of holy Writ in this 
manner abovesaid, should make the soul set little 
price by knowing of all the seven liberal arts, or 
of all the world, or all worldly wisdom ; for the 
end of this knowing is the salvation of a man's 
soul in everlasting life ; and the end of that other 
knowledge, as to himself, is but vanity and a 
fading delight, unless by grace it be turned to 
this end. 

Tht Third Book 



Of tht Bfctet Voice oi Jesus sounding in a Soul, and 

how it miy be kacwo* And how all the e^^ioua 
lUuminations oiddc in a Soul \x c^ed tke Speak' 
Inga of Jesus 

Lo, these are fair new feelings in a clean soul; 
and if a soul were filleJ wirh such, it might be 
saidj and that truly» that it were reformed some- 
what in feeling, but not yet fully ; for why? Yet 
Jesu£ showeih more, and leadeth the soul inward, 
and beginneih to speak more familiarly, and 
more lovely to a soul, and maketh it more ready 
to follow the stirrings of grace- For the Prophti 
saith : Qin}cumque ibat ipiritus^illuc grndithantut Eucu 
r/ toUb sequtnUs eum. — U'htthersoever the spirit 
evenly iktthcr 'went the wheels fclliywing him. By 
wheels are understood the true lovers of Jesus, 
for they are round in virtue, without angle of 
frowardness; and lightly whirling through readi- 
ness of will after the stirrings of grace ; lor 
according as grace stirreth and leadieth, so 
they follow and work, as the Prophet saith. 

But first, they have a full secure experience, 
and a true knowing of the voice of grace, ere 
ihcy do so; that they be not deceived by their 
fjwn feigning, or by the mid-day fiend- Our 
Lord Jesus saiih thus of His lovers: Oves m€i€ stjohn i. 
vocem ijieam audtttnt^ &'c. — My shetp hear My 
vQtci^ and I know themt and (hey knam Me. The 
privy voice of Jesus is full true, and it maketh 
a soul true ; there is no feigning in it, nor on 
fancy, nor pride, ror hyprocrisy ; but gentle- 
ness, humility, peace, love and charity. And 


The Scale of Perfection 

it is full of life, love and grace. And 
therefore when it soundelh in a soul, it ia 

of so great power somecimes^ that the soul 
suddenly Uyeih aside all that was in hand, u 
praying, speakirig^, reading or thinking ; in 
the manner abovesaid, and all manner of bodily 
work, and listeneth thereto fully, hearing and 
perceiving in rest and in love the sweet soimd 
of thia spiritual \oice, as il were ravished 
from the mind of all earthly things, and then 
in this quiet, jesus Bometimes showeth Himself 
as an awful' master, and sometimes as a reverend 
Father, and sometimes as a lovely Spouse. And 
it keepetli a soul in a wonderful reverence, and 
in a loveJy beholding of Him, that the soul 
liketh wtii then, and never so well as then; 
for it feeleth so great security, and so great rest 
in Jesus, and so much savour of ilis goodness, 
that it would ever be so, and nevtr do other 
work. It thinkeih that it toucheih Jesus, and 
through virtue of that unspeakab.e touching. It 
13 made whole and stable in itself, reverently 
beholding Jesus only^ as if there were nothing 
but Jesus, one thing, and himfielf another^ home 
up only by the sa\ our and the wonderful good- 
ness of Him ; that is that thing which he feelelt 
and seeth. And this feeling is ofttimes without 
special beholding of holy Writ, and with but few 
words formed in the mind; only there falls in 
among swpet words, according to the feeling 
either of loving, or worshipping, or admiring, or 
otherwise sounding, as the htart Hkeih. The 
soul is ver}' much separated from love or liking 
of the world* through virtue of this gracious 
feeling, and also very much from minding of the 

• H&ugbtrkiL 

The Third Book 


world in that time. It taketh no heed thereof, 
for it hath no lime thereto. But then someiimes 
anon, together with this, falli?th into a soul divers 
illuminationa through grace, which I call the 
speaking^s of Jesus, and the sight of spiritual 
things; for be thou assured, that ail the business 
that Jesus maketh about a soul, is for to make 
it a true periect spouse to Him in the height and 
the fulness of love, and that cannot be done 
suddenly. Therefore Jesus, who is love, and of 
all lovf-rs the wisest, iiraveth by many ways, and 
by many wonderful means, ere this can coma 
about. And therefijre that it may come to the 
efftct of irue espousing, He haih such gracious 
speakings of a wooer to a chosen soul. He 
shew*?th His privy jewels; many things He 
giveth, and more He promisclh ; and showetK 
courteous dalliance. He often visiteih her with 
much grace and spirilual comfort, as I have said 
before; but how He doih iliis in pariicular. I 
cannot fuJJy telJ thee, for it needeth not. Never- 
theles.*^ somewhat shall I say, according* aa grace 
enablelh me- 

Tiie drawingr of a soul fully to perfect love, is, 
first by the !^ho^villg of spiritual things to a clean 
soul, when the spiritual eye is opened j not that 
a soul should rest therein, and make an end 
there, but should by that search Him and love 
Him who is highest of all» without any beholding 
of any other thing than He» 

But thou wilt ask, what are these spiritual 
thin):js, because 1 speak so oft of spiriiual things? 
To this I say that spiritual things may be 
said all the truth of holy -Scnpiurp, A'ld there- 
fore a soul that through light of grace can see 
the truth of Scripiure, seeih spiritual things, a^ I 
have said before. 


The Scale of Perfection 



How rhrough ^r&dous Opening oi ihe SpiriEuaJ Eye 
« SoLil is made Wise, humbly and Iruiv to 5cc Lfic 
Diversities of Df threes in Holy Church, u 
Milirant, and for io spe (he nature oF AageU : *ni 
first of the Reprob^xe 

Nevertheless, other spirituaJ things there be 
also, which through light of grace are showed to 
the aoul, and are these : the nature of all reason- 
able jiouls, and ih*; gracious workings of our Lord 
Jesus in thcni ; the nature of angels, boih good 
and baj, and their workings, and the knowlpfdge 
of the Blessed Trinity, according? as grace 
teacheth. Holy Wnt saith of the Spouae ihofr 
Camt^L in the Canticles: Surgam e£ ctnutbo avifattm, 
&€. — / Will arisfj and go aiout the ctiy^ ami vtil 
seek Him w/iom my soul iavdh. Thai is, I will 
rise into highness of thought, and g-o about the 
City- By ihih City is understood tiie Univer^uy 
of all cr<;atures, corporal and spiritual, ordertd 
and ruled under God by laws of nature, of reason 
and of grace. I go about this ciiy when 1 behold 
the natures and causes of bodily creatures, the 
gifts of grace, and the bli&ses ol spiritual crea- 
tures. And in all these I seek Him wliom my 
^ouL lovelh. It is pleasant looking with the 
inner eye on Jesus in bodily creatures, to see His 
power, His wisdom and His g-oodneas in order- 
ing of their natures ; but it is much more 
beautiful to look on Jesus in spiritual creatures: 
First in rea^Linable houls, both elect and repro- 
bate, to £ee the mercilul calling of them CO 

The Third Book 


election, how He turneth them from sin by the 
light of His gfrace> how He help«th them, 
teach eth them, chasteneth them, comforieih 
them; He sanctifieth, cleanseth and feedeth 
them; how He maketh them burning In love 
and in light throug-h plenty of His grace. And 
thus doih He, not to one soul only, but to all 
His chosen according' 10 the measure of His grace. 

Also concerning the reprobate, he seeth how 
justly he forsaketh them, and leaveth them in 
their sins, and doth them no wrong. How He 
rewardelh them in this world, suffering them 
to have the fulfilling of their own will, and after 
to punish them endlessly- Lo, this is a Uule 
beholciing of holy Churchy whilst it U militant 
in this life, by seeing how black and how foul it 
secmeih in souls that are reprobate; and how 
fair and how lovely it is in chosen souls. 

And all this spiritual sight is nought else but 
the sight of jesus, not in Himself but in His 
merciful secret works, and in His righteous judge- 
ments every day showed, remembered and re- 
newed to reasonable souls, ^lorco^'er, to see 
with the spiritual eye the pains of the repro- 
bate and the joy and bliss of chosen souls is 
full comfortable. For truth cannot be seen in a 
clean soul Avithout great delight and wonderful 
content of blessed burning love. 

Also the sight of the nature of Angels, first 
of the damned, then of the blessed ; as it is a full 
pleasant contemplation concerning the devil in a 
clean souh When grace bringeth the fiend into 
the sight of the soul, as a clumsy caiti^ bound by 
the power of Jesus that he cannot hurt ; then the 
soul beholdeih him not bodily, but spiritually, 
seeing his nature and his malice, and turneth 
him upside down ^nd spoilcth him and rendeth 



The Scale of Perfection 

him all to noug:ht, scorneth him and de&pisetb 
him, and settetli nought by his malice. Thus 
biddeth holy Writ, when it saith Ihus ; V^rU 
Prvv. Jtii. imptum. tt rii//t erit. — Turn the wicked^ that is, the 
ti6nd, upside down, and he shaii be as nought. 
Much wonder hath the soul that the fiend hath so 
much malica and so Httle mlgiic. There is no 
creature so weak as he is; and therefore it i» 
greai: cowardice that men fear him so much. He 
can do nothing without leave of our Lord Jesus, 
not so much as enter into a >wine, as the Gospel 
St Ma//. v]n. saith, mucti less can he do then to annoy anv man. 
And therefore if our Lord Je^us i^Ive him 
leave to tempt us, it is full worthily and merci- 
fiiUy done, that he doth so ; and therefore 
welcome be our Lord Jesus by Himself^ and l^ 
all His messeng-ers. The soul feareth no more 
the blustering of the fiend than the stirring of 
a mouse. Wondrous wroth is the Jiend when we 
say nay to his temptations, but his mouth is 
stopped with his own malice. His hands are 
bound like a ihieve's, worthy to be judged and 
hanged in hell. And then the soul accuseth 
him, and doth justly condemn him according" to 
his deserts. Wonder not at this saying, for 
Si Paul meant the same, when he saith thus: 
C^t, tI, 3' FraSrcs ri£sci£{s,&c. — Brefhrciiy knmx} yCJiot that^c 
shall judge the angefs ? namely, those that are 
wicked spirits through malice that were made 
good anyeis by nature. As who should say, 
yes : this judp^ing is JigTired before the day of 
judgement in CofUempluiive souls, for they feel a 
little tasting in likeness of all that shall be done, 
afterwarJa of our Lord Jesus openly in truth. 
Shamed and troubled ■ is the fiend greatly in him- 
sielf, when he is thus used by a clean soul. He 

The Third Book 


would fain fly away, but he cannot, for the power 
of the Highest holdeth him stilh and ihat ^nev- 
eth him more than all the fire cif helL Then 
falleth the soul wonderfully humble under Jesus 
wiih hearty praises, for ihat He so niigiiiily 
saveth a simple soul from aU the malice of so 
Cruei an enemy by His great mercy. 


How by ike aame light of Grace the Nature of the 
bles:i£d Angels is st^a. And how Jesu5 is God 
and Man abcve all Creafurca. according lo thai 
which the Soul may see of Him here 

And then after this by the selfsame light ma.y 
the soul spiritually see the beauty ot the Angels, 
the wurihiness of their nature, the suiiilety of 
their substance, their confirming in grace, their 
fulness in endless bliss^ the diversity of their 
orders; the distinctions of persons, how they 
all live in light of endless truth ; and bow they 
burn all in love of the Holy Ghost, according- 
to the worthiness of their orders ; how they see 
and love and praise Jesus in blessed rtsi with- 
out ceasing-. There is no sight of a body, nor 
any fii^ure in imagination, in this manner of work- 
ing-, but all spiritual^ and of spiritual creatures. 

Then beginneth the soul to have great ac- 
quaintance and great fellowship with the blessed 
spirits. They are full lender and full busy about 
such a soul to help it, they are masters to teach 
it. And often by their spiritual presence and 
touchiog of their ligiit drive out fancies from 
the soul. They enlighten the soul graciously; 
they comfort the souJ with sweet words sud- 


The Scale of Perfection 

denly sourded in a elf an heart ; and if any 
disease fall spiritually, they serve the soul and 
minister to it all thsl it needeih. Thus St 
Btb. i. Paul said of them s Kftff^ ye not Skat they ars 
all mtfiislcring sj^in/s, scrU for them ^ha shall 
be firsts 0/ salvafion .' As if he had said thust 
Know ye that all this spiritual working- of words 
and of reasons, brovight to the uiiTidl, and such 
fair likeness are made by the ministiy of Anceis, 
when the light of grace abundantly shineth in 
a clean soul. It cannot be told by tongue the 
feelings, the enlighten in g-s^ the graces and ihe 
comforts in specln.1 thai clean souls perceive by 
the favourable fcllow^^hip of blessed Angels. The 
soul is so well pleased with beholding what they 
do that it would willingly attend to nothing else. 
But then with the help of Angels the 50ul yei 
seeth more; for knoiA'ing' in a clean soul riseth 
higher above all this, and that is to behold the 
blessed nature of Jesus. First of His glorious 
humanity, how it is worthily exalted above the 
natiire of Angels, and afterwards of His blessed 
Divinity, for by knowing of creatures is known 
the Creator; and then beginneih the soul 10 
perceive a little of the mvsteries of the Blessed 
Trinity, And this it may do well enough, for 
the light of grace going before, she cannot err 
as long as she holdeth her in that light. Tlien 
is opened really to the eye of the soul the unity 
in substance, and distinction of persons in the 
Blessed Trinity, as ii may be seen in this life, and 
much other truth of the Blessed Trinity pertinent 
to this matter ; the which is open!/ declared and 
shown by writings of holy docTors of holy Church, 
And be Tou assured that one and Ihesamevcrity 
concerning the Blessed Trinitv thai these holy 
doctors, inspired through grace, writ in tbeir 

The Third Book 309 

books for the strengtheij'ng- of our truths & dean 
soul may see in krowing- through the same light 
of gTEice. I will not express too much of this 
matter here in particular, for It needeth not 

Wondrous great love feedeth the soul with 
heavenly delight in feeling- of tins trutli* when 
it is wrought through special grace; for love and 
light go both together in a clean soul. There is 
no love that riseth out of knowing, aid from 
special beholding that can sooner touch our 
Lord than this can^ For why? This knowing 
of Jesus» God and Man, is alone in itself the 
worthiest and the highest, if it be specially 
shown hy the light of grace. And therefore is 
the fire of flaming love hereof more burning than 
ii is of any creature, corporal or incorporaL And 
all these gracious knowings of the university of 
all creatures felt in a soul in manner abovesaid, 
and of our Lord Jesus, the maker and keeper 
of all this fair university^ I call fair words, and 
sweet speakings of our Lord Jesus to a 5ouI, 
which He means to make His true Spouse. 
He showelh His mysteries^ proffereth rich gifts 
out of His treasury, and arrayeth the soul with 
them full beautifully. She need not thcncc- 
forw'ard be ashamed of the company of her 
fellows, to appear before the face of Jesus her 
Spouse- All this lovely dalliance of private 
conference betwixt Jesus and a soul may be 
called a hidden word; of the which Scripture 
saiih thus: Porro ad me dictum €st verbum ah' 
scotidtfum, &c. — Moreover to me there was spoken joh. \y, 
a S€cr£f ^'ord, and the v/>ins of Hii ivkhpettng mine 
ear kcik fcrccived. The inspiration of Jesus is 
a hidden word, for it is privily hid from aU 
lovers of the world, and shown to His lover&j 
through which a clean soul perceiveih readily 



The Scale of Perfection 

the veins of His whispering, ihat is the special 
showings of His truih ; for every gracious know- 
ing- of truth felt with inward savour and spiritual 
delight is a privy whispering of Jesus in the ear 
of a dean soul. He mu^t have much cleanness 
and humilitv a-nd all other virtu es« and must be 
halt'df^af to the noise of worldly janglings, that 
Will wisely perceive tho'^e sweet spiritual whis- 
perings, tliai IS the voice of Jesus, Of the which 
Ps, KJty'ul D^vtd switch thus ; Vox Domifti praparantis cei'vot^ 
&c. — The voice of the Lord prtpartth haris, and 
shail dtsayifer thick woods. That is, the inspira^ 
tion of Jesus makcth souls light as deer, that 
start from the groiird over bushes and briars of 
all worldly vaniiies; and He showeth to them 
the tliickets, that is, His mysteries, which can- 
not be perceived but by a sharp eye. These be- 
holdings, solidly grounded in grace and humiliiVi 
make a soul wise and burning in desire to the 
face of Jesus. These are the spiritual things 
that I sp.ike of before, and they be called new 
gracious feelings i and 1 do out touch them a 
little for direciion of a soul; for a soul that is 
pure, stirred up by grace to use this working, 
may see more of such spiritual matter in aa hour 
than can be writ in a great book. 

Thus finisheth this present book, which ex- 
poundeth many notable doctrines in Contempla- 
tion, which to me seem*-th right expedient to 
thos*? that set their felicity in busying them- 
selves specially for their souls' health. 

The following vtftses form ikt colopfkdci to Wynkyn 
dt Worde's fdUion of ihe "Scale," and are rc- 
- printed from the 1659 edition. 

Infinite laud with ihankmgs vmnifotd, 

I yield to Godt m£ succottniig wilh l/ts grace; 
Thss Book to /inisli, ivhtcM as ye behold. 

Scale of Perfection'^ dilkd in every place : 
Whereof £h' Author Waiter Hilton wus. 

And Wynkin de Word this hath sel in print i 
In William Caxton'j house, so fell the case^ 

God rest his soul, in joy there may 

This hea-Denly Book more preciirus than gold^ 

Was lately directed zttth great humilttyt 
Fvr godly pleasure thereon io behold. 

Unto the right ncble ]\largaret ets ye sei^ 
The King 's Mother of ejcctUcTU bounty^ 

Hany the severith, that yesus him preserve, 
Tfiis mighty Prtmcss hath commanded me 

T'lmprini this Book, her grace f&r to deserve. 


The Scale of Perfection 

it is full of life, love and grace. And 

therefore when k aoundeth in a soul, it is 
of so great power somerimes, that the soul 
suddenly Uyeth aside all that was in hand, &s 
praying, .speaking^, reading or thinkirg- ; in 
the manner abovesaid^ and all manner of bodilv 
work, and liateneth thereto fully, heaxing^ and 
perceiving in re&t and in love the sweet sound 
of this spiritual voice, as it were ravi&hed 
from the mind of all earthly things, and then 
in this quiet, Jesus sometimes showeth Himself 
as an awful* master, and sometimes as a reverend 
Father, and sometimes as a lovely Spouse. And 
it keepeih a soul in a wonderful reverence, and 
in a lovely beholding of Him, that the soul 
liketh well thcn» and never so well as then; 
for it feeleth so great security, and so great rest 
in Jesus, and so much savour cf His gfoodne&s, 
that it would ever be so, and never do other 
worlc It thinketh that it loucheth Jesus, and 
through virtue of that uii.^peakable touching, it 
is made whole and stable in itself, reverently 
beholding Jesus only, as if there were nothing 
but Jesus, one thing, and himself another, borne 
up only by the 5 a i. our and the wonderful good- 
ness of Him ; that is that thing which he feeleth 
and seetK And this feeling is ofttimes without 
special beholding of holy Writ, and with but few 
words formed in the mind; only there falls in 
among sweet words, according to the feeling 
either of loving, or worshipping, or admiring, or 
otherwise sounding, as the hc*art liketh. The 
soul is very much separated from love or liking 
of the world, through virtue of this gracious 
feeling, and also very much from minding of the 



Written to a dcvoul man of secular 
Estale ^ Teaching hina bow to lead 
a spiritual life iLercin 





Ttkac he v/ho intends to become a SpirJIual Maji 
must first use much Bodily Ezcrciae in Pen^actt 
and m Deslrovins of Sin 

Dear Brother in Christ,— There be in the 

holy Church two kinds of life, by the which 
Christian souls do serve and please God, and 
procure their own salvation. The one is cor- 
poral, the other spiritual. 

Corporal working- appertaineth principally 
to the men and women of the world, who for 
the nature of their estate do lawfully u^e worldly 
g^oods, and intermeddle and deal with worldly 
businesses and affairs, This life also belong"eEh 
to all young beg-inners m spiritualiiy, who ho 
but newly converted from sensual and worldly 
sins to the service of God; and this life is to 
dispose and enable such persons for spiritual 
working, by taming" the body by corporal works 
and exercises, and thereby bringing it into 
obedience and subjection to the spirit, whereby 
it may become supple and ready, and not much 
contrarious to the spirit in her spiritual ex- 
ercisings ; for as St Paul saith, iha£ ivom'tn was 
ynade for tnan^ and not vi'i'fi for Ttfoman. Even so 
corporal working was ordained for spiritual^ and 



Treatise vrittOL 

not spiritual working for corporal. Corporal 
working is to go before, and spiritual working 
Cometh after, as the same S( Paul saith in these 
words : 7'hai is not first which is spiri/ua/, but 
that which is sensr&U jor corporal' a/ft-ntfird^ 
comctk thai -whtch w sftrttuai. And the rea^n 
why it should be so is this, that we are bora 
in sin and in corruption of the flesh, by the which 
we are in souls so blinded and so o^'erlaid that 
we neither have the spiritual sight or knowing 
of God by light of understanding, nor the spiritu- 
al tasting or feeling of Him by a clean desire of 
loving i and therefore we cannot suddenly start 
out of the dark night of this fleshly corruption 
into the spiritual light; for we are not as yet 
able to endure such spiritual light, by reason of 
the sickness of our souls, any more than we can 
with our bodily eyes, when they are sore, behold 
and look upon the light of the sun ; and for that 
cause we must expect and work by degrees and 
process of time. First, by corporal works dili- 
gently, till we be discharged, or much lightened, 
or ea^ed from this heavy burden of sin and 
Bensuality, that hindereth us from spiritual 
working; and lill our souls be somewhat 
cleansed from great outward sins, and enabled 
for spiritual workings. 

By the corporal working that I speak of, 
thou must underJitand that 1 mean all manner 
of good works or deeds that thy soul doth by the 
senses or the members of thy body, either upon 
or towards thyself, as in fasting, watching, 
or in restraining thy fleshly or sensual desires, 
by penance-doing, or other acts of mortification. 
Or upon, or towards thy Christian brother, in 
performance of the works of mercy, spiritual or 
corporal. Or to, or towards God Himself, by 

to 4 Devout Man 


suffering (for the \ove of Him and His ju&tice) 
all manner of bodily pains and afRiction^ Ihat 
shall occur for ihee to undergo, either as im- 
mediately from His own hands, or by the means 
and from the hands of other creatures of His. 
A]l these kind of works done in faith and out 
of chanty (without which they are of no worth) 
do please God. Therefore whoso desireth to 
become a spiritual man> it will be securest and 
protitable for him that he be first, for a long 
time, well exercised in these corporal workings, 
for these corporal deeds are practices and tokens 
af moral virtjes, without which a sou) is not 
able to work spiritually. Break down first pride 
within thee by bodily sufferings and bearings, 
and al^o by thinkin^f^ in thy mind of something 
that will help to humbie thee; and, moreover, by 
eschewing and avoiding all ostentations, boast- 
ings, or praising of thyself, either privately by 
thyself in thy mind, or by thy words or extern^ 
deeds, or carnage towards, or with others; by 
this means casting away and mortifying within 
thee all vainglory and complacence in thyself 
for any talent, gift, or thing corporal or spiritual 
that God bath bestowed on thee. Also morlify 
and destroy within thee, so soon as thou art 
abl*:^. all envy and anger towards thy Christian 
brethren ; whether they be rich or poor, good or 
bad, hate ihem not* nor disdain them, nor wil- 
lingly offend ih(*m by words or by deeds. Like- 
wise destroy and morlify in thee all coveting of 
worldly goods, and see that neither for the 
j^eltins", or holding, nor saving of them, thou do 
not offend thy conscience, nor break verily with 
God, or thy Christian brother, for the love of 
any earthly thing ; but what thou gettesl. or 
hast, keep it without inordinate love or affection 

to it, and 5pend it as reasonable occasions shall 
require, for the honour of God, and ihe succour of 
thy Christian brother. Mortify also, ajid de* 
stroy as much as thou canst, all yielding to 
bodily sloih, and unnecessary bodily ea^e, and 
the sensual vices of gluttony and luxury, with 
the inordinations that ri&e out of them. And 
after that thou hasi been well exercised and 
tried in all such kind of corporat works, thou 
laayest then by tiie grace of God, ordain thee, 
and apply thee to spintual working- 

The j,'Tace and guodntss of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, that He haih showed to thee, in with- 
drawing of ihine heart from the love and Hking 
of worldly vanity, and from the use of fleshly and 
sensual sins, and in turningof thy will entirely to 
Hisservice, bringethintc mine heart much matter 
to love Him in iJis mercy; and also it greatly 
moveih and urgeih me to strengthen thee in thy 
good purpose, and in the work which thou hast 
begun between thee and God, so that it may be 
brought to a good end. And so Jar as may be in 
my power to help thee in it, my best endeavours 
in it I shall most willingly afford thee, first and 
principally for the ser\'ice and Iionour of God, and 
next in requital of thy tender afti^ction of love 
thou bearest to me, though I be a wretch, and 
unworthy of thy love or favour, I know well the 
desire of thy heart, as how that thou greatly covet- 
est to serve our Lord both in soul and body, fully 
and wholly, without intermeddling or troubling 
thyself in worldly businesses, that so thou 
mayesl by the grace of" God, attain to more 
knowle'dgCj and spiritual feeling of God, and of 
spiritual things. Such desire of thine is [as 
1 hope) good, and from God, for it is set upon 
Him in charity spiritually. Nevertheless, as in 
regard of esttemal matters and workings in th< 

to a Devout Man 319 

such desire of thine is to be moderated and ruled 
with discretion, according* to the nature and 
quality of thy estate, which thou art to regard in 
thy spiritual intentions ; for charity unruled, that 
is^ not rightly ordered^ turneth sometimes into 
a fault or vice. And therefore it is said of oiir 
Lord by a holy soul in the holy Scripture ; He 
ka(h ord£r£d chartty in me;* that is to say, our 
Lord g:ivetb to me charityi hath set it in order 
and good rule within me, whereby it might not 
err in its exercise, nor be lost through my in- 
discreet doings. Even so the said desire and 
chanty which our Lord hath wrought in thee, 
out of His goodness and mercyj must be so ruled 
and moderated, that in the exercises of it, it do 
regard the nature of thy estate and condition 
of life, and the manner of living, which in former 
I time thcu hast held, and the measure and quan- 
I tity of virtues that now are in thee. Thou must 
I not altogether follow thy said desire in giving 
over or neglecting those businesses and cares of 
^ the world that are necessary, and do belong to 
thee, either for the upholding of thy own person 
I in bis degree, or in the ruling or ordering of 
I other persons or things that pertain to thy 
charge, and give thee wholly to retiredness, 
spiritual devotions and holy meditations, as if 
thou wert a TViar or Monk, or another man tliat 
were not bound (as thou art) to the world by 
I children or servants i for it is not for thee to 
, do so, and if thou dost, then keepest thou not the 
order of charity. Also if thou wouldst alto- 
gether leave and forbear all spiritual exercises 
especially now after the grace and calling that 
God hath given thee for them) and give thy- 
"^If wholly to the businesses of the world, in. 
fulfilling of the works of the active life, as iully 

I ■ CuL -^ 4. 


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as do other men, that never felt such devotion, 
nor had such grace or callings as thou hAst, thou 
dost then leave the order of charity ; for thy 
stale requlreth of thee to attend lo each of them 
in divers times. Thou shalt mirgle the works of 
active life with the spiritual works of the con- 
templative life, and then thou dost weU ; for 
thou shall sometimes be bu&y, with Martha, for to 
order and govern thine household, ihy children, 
thy servants, thy neighbours and ihy tenants. If 
they do well, comfort and hdp them therein ; if 
they do amiss, then tell and teach them for their 
amendment, and chastise them as there shall be 
cause. Thou shah also wisely look after and 
know thy things and thy worldly goods, as that 
ihey be well and duly used or p^e^e^ved by ihy 
servant-^, well ordered and reasonably spent, 
whereby thou mayt-si the more plenieously, out 
of thy temporal means, fulfil the deeds of mercy 
and charily towards thy Christian brethren, 
-^5o thou shall sometimes, with \fary, leave 
or lay aside the businesses of the worlds and 
shah alt down at the feet of our Lord with hu- 
mility, in prayers and holy thoughts, and in 
ConUmplalion of Him, according to the grace 
that He shall give thee tor it, and so thou shall 
go from, that one to thai other, profitably and 
&uitful]y, and ful^ them both ; and so doing 
thou obaenrest well the order of chanty, 


To wfial kind of Men the Active Life pertaSi 

But that thou roayest the iess wonder at 
that I have said, and that thou mayest better 
understand the reason thereof, therefore I shall 
declare the matter a little more fully to thee» 


!0 a Devout Man 


rhou must understand that God is served by 
iiree kinds of life, as either by an active lite, 
)r by a coniemplative, or by a third, that is 
nixed of them both, and therefore is commonly 
called a mixed life. The active life belongeth 
;o worldly men and women that are gross and 
ignorant, as to the understanding: or knowledg:e 
>f spiritual exercises or ways, for they neither 
eel nor taste devotion by fervour of love as 
>theT men do. nor can they well conceive what 
.t is or how it may be come by; and neverthe- 
less, ihey have in them the fear of God and of 
the pains of Hell, and therefore they eschew and 
Ibrbear >in, and have a desire for to please God* 
uid to attain to Heaven, and a good will they 
bear to their Christian brethren. Unto these 
men it is needful and speedful to use the works 
&f the active life as diligently as they can in the 
belp of themselves and of their Christian brethren, 
Eor more they cannot do. 



To wfiom the Contcmplaiive Life appcHaineit 

The Conlemplanve life appertaineih only id such 
men and women as for the love of God have lor- 
saken all notorious sins, both of the fl'i-sh and of 
the world, and have given over all intermeddiing' 
ffilh the affairs and businesses of ihe world, or 
srith worldly goods, as aKo all care and charge 
over others, and all superiority or offices that 
concern the government of others [it ever they 
had any such) and make themselves poor and, 
AS it were, naked from all the things of this life 
save for what their corporal nature doth merely 




Treatise written 

need and of necessity require. Unto these men 
and women it apppnaineth diligently and sen- 
Ously to employ themselves in internal exercises, 
for lo get thereby (through the grace of our Lord 
cleanness in heart and peace in conscience by 
destroying of sin and gaining of virtue, and so 
to come to ConteropUlion ; since i^uch cleanness 
(necessary for Coniemplation) cannot be had 
without much exercise of body and continual 
travail or industry in spirit^ by devout praj-er*^ 
fervent desires and spiritual meditation. 


To whom ippertaiaetli iht ULixtd Life 

The third kind of life that is called the mixed 
life belongeth to Prelates of holy Church and to 
pastors and curates who have charg-e and supe- 
riority over otht-r men or women, for to leach 
and govern them, both as to their bodies and as 
to their souls, and principally to animate and 
guide tliern in the performance of the deeds of 
mercy both corpural and spiritual towards their 
Christian brethren- Unto tliese men of the noixed 
life it appettaineth sometimes to use the works of 
mercy in active liff, In help and sustenance of 
themselves and o( their subjects and of others 
also, and sometimes for to leave all manner of 
external businesses and to give ihtmselves to 
contemplative exercises, as to prayer and medi- 
tations, reading of holy Scriptures or other good 
books or to some other spiritual exercises, ac- 
cording to what they shall (eel themBelves dis- 
posed, Also, this mixed life appenaineth to 
some temporal men, who are owners of much 
land and goods and have withal some domi, 

to a Devout Man 


or mastership over other men, for to govern and 
sustain them, a^ a fa^ther haih over his children, 
and X master over his servants, and a lord over 
his tenants; the which men have received also 
of our Lord's gift, the grace of Devotion, and in 
some measure a taste and practice of spiritual 
CKercise. Unto these men> T say, belongeth the 
foresaid mixed life, that is both active and con- 
templative; for if these nien having (as they 
have} iuch external charge and cares lying on 
them, out of some obligation or necessity, would 
altogether leave or neglect such charge and busi- 
nesses of the world pertaining* to them^ and give 
themselves wholly to the exercises of contempla- 
tive life, they would not do well in so doing, for 
Ihcy observe not the order of charily ; for charity 
(as thou well knowest) consisieih in the love of 
God and of thy Christian brethren. And there- 
fore he that hath charity in him, will not by oc- 
casion of his devotions, used immoderately to- 
wards God, omit that which he ought to do 
towards his Christian brother, but will serve 
both God and them for God, at divers times, aS' 
now the one and then the other; for he that for 
the loving of God in Confemplalion leaveth the 
loving of his Christian brethren, and doth not 
perform towards them that which he ought, and 
is bound unto, he fulfilleth not the rule and obli- 
g'ation of charity. Likewise on the contrary side 
whoso hath so great a regard to the works of ihe 
active life and to the business of the world that 
for the love of his Christian brethren, and the 
serving of them, he leaveth or neglecteth all 
spiritual exercises, God having given him a call 
thereunto, he fulfilleth not charity, and so saith 
SI Gre^y^ For though our Saviour Christ, for 
to stir up ^Qine to use the mixed life, took upon 


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Hraselfthe person of such manner of men, i.*, 
bith of Prelates and of such other as are OE the 
said mixed estate, ard gave them exatnpie by 
His own working that they should upon occasion 
use the exercises of ihe mixed life, as H^ Him- 
sell did at those times that He spoke with men 
and meddled with them, showing and exercising 
Hl& deeds of mercy towards them, taught tht 
ignorant by His preaching, visiteJ the sick and 
healed them of their diseases, fed the hungn' and 
comforted the sorrowful; nevertheless, at oihet 
limes He left the ccnversation of vorldiv m&^, 
and even of His own disciples, and went into the 
des+Ti upon the hills, and continued there all 
night all atone in prayers, as the Gospel tesri- 
fietb to us. And this mixed life did our Lord in 
Himself exercise^ and show in the same manner, 
for an example to all other men that have lakm 
on them the stale or condition that requireth the 
exercises of the said mixed life, that is to say. 
that they should sometimes apply themselves JO 
the external affairs and businesses belonging to 
their charge, and to ihe curing of such their 
Christian brethren as pertain to them to look 
to, instruct or provide for; and this to do ac- 
cording to reason and discretion and their need; 
and at another lime to g-ive themselves to dev-o- 
tion and to the exercises of a Coni€mthttve\\S»^ 
bein^ principally [as before J have saidj reading 
and praying. 


How holy Bishops hpld aoJ us?J thr said Mix^d Life 

The said mixed life did holy Bishops hold and 
lead, who had charge over men's souls and had 
the ministration and disposal of temporal goods ; 

to a Devout Man 


for those holy men did not wholly forsake the 
administraLion, lookirg to, and the disposal of 
worldly goods, ard give themselves altogether, 
or unreasonably to Contemplation, noiwithsiand- 
irg the grace and gift they had for Contempla- 
tion; but very often left their own rest in Con- 
templation (which for their parts they had much 
rather have continued in still) for the love and 
service of their Christian brethren, and were con- 
tented to intermeddle with worldly businesses, 
for succouring and helping' of those that were 
under their charge; and surely such doing of 
theirs was true charity. For justly and discreetly 
did they divide the time of their life into two 
parts, whereof the one they bestowed in the lower 
part of love and charity, that is to say, in the 
works of the active life (for they were bound 
thereto by taking on them their Prelacy); and 
another part of their time they spent in tha 
higher part of love and charitj", and that was in 
the contemplation of God, and of spiritual things 
by prayers and holy recollections i and so they 
had and held charity to God and their Christian 
brethren, both interiorly in affection of soul, and 
also eslericrly by doing and performing good 
corporal or external works. Other men that 
were only coniemplatlves^ and were free from all 
cares and Prelacies, they also had charity towards 
God and their Christian brethren, but it was only 
interiorly m the affection of their soul, and not 
used outwardly in corporal deeds; and it maybe 
it was so increased inwardly through their con- 
templations, that they needed not to intermeddle 
with external things for the bettering their 
chanty ; nor did u belong to their state ot life to 
seek after such external workings, nor to inter- 
meddle therewith^ there being' no necessity nor 


Treatise written 

obligation for k on them ; and so their internal 
charity sufficed for them. But those, whom 
before I mentioned, that were in Prelacy, and 
others also that were holy secular men, had 
perfect charity, both interiorly in their affectiorif 
and did also exercise the same exteriorly in 
bodilv working or deeds, and such doin^ is 
properly the mixed life which I have spoken of, 
consisting of the active and contemplative both 
together. And surely for such men that are in 
spiritual superiority, or have charge of the souls 
of others, as Prelates, Pastors and Curates have* 
or that are in temporal authority in the govern^ 
ment of others, as worldly Lords and Slasters 
are, I hold this mixed life best, and most ^X^H 
pedient or necessary for them, so Jong as the^^ 
remain in the said superiority and charge over 
others. But as tor others that are free, and noi 
obliged to any ministration or superiority, tem- 
poral or spiritual, I judge that the contemplative 
life alone by itself (if they have grace and calling 
to it) were, in truth, the best, the most expedient, 
most meritorious, most fair and raost worthy for 
them to use, and not willingly to leave il for any 
outward working of the active life, unless it were 
in case of great need, as for the helping or com- 
forting of some other men, either in their bodies 
or in their souls ; and need requiring it, he to go 
about the doing of it, either when the party, or 
some other for him, requesteih, and craveth at 
his hands the doing of it ; or that him*>elf sees a 
mere necessity in ihe case, or elae (being re- 
ligiousj when he is bidden by his superior to 
undertake or intermeddle witJi the work. 

to a Devout Man 



Vliat kind of Life WAS most fitline for hira for whom 
this Twaiisc was made 

By that which I have said thou mayest partly 
understand the differences between one and 
anc ther of the aforesaid three kinds of lives 1 and 
thou mayest by what I have said also judg^e 
which of them best fitteth thee, since that our 
Lord hath ordained and set tliee in a state of 
superiority (of such nature a±i it isj and authority 
over otliers, and hath lent thee some store of 
worldly goods and lands, by the which thou 
Tiiayesi not only maintain and sustain thyself, 
but al-o all those oiber special persons that are 
under thy aulhority and government, and might- 
e&t witbal govern them accoruing* to thy best 
knowledge and ability ; and therewith also thou 
hast, through the goudness of our Lordj received 
Irom Him the g^race for 10 kno\v thyself, and 
a spiriiual desire and ta>le of His love, I am of 
the mind that the life which I have termed to be 
n^ixed is best and most befitiing thee; and thou 
accordingly lo divide and dispose of thy time 
wisely and to the sati^faciion of the foresaid 
rule of charity* For know thou well that if thou 
leave the necessary business or the active life 
belonginc to thee, and be careless, and take no 
heed of thy worldly g"oods as how they be kept 
or spent, nor lookest after tho^e that pertain to 
thy charge to see they do well, nor wih afford 
thy h-^lp upon the necessity of thy Christian 
brother by reason of thy love and de^re thou 
hast to aitply thyself only to solitUile and spiri- 
tual exercises, imagining that by so doing thou 


Treatise written 

art excusec^ and freed from ihy foresaid obliga- ' 
tions. If. I sayt ttiou do so, thou 6o*n not widely 
nor profitably for thy soul; for what arc thy 
works or exercises worth (be they spiritual or 
corporal} urless they be done according' to jusuce 
and reason, to the honour of God and agreeable 
to His uili f surely they are even nothing- worth. 
Therefore if thou leave or neglect thai thing 
which thou art bound unto by th(* law of chancy, 
justice or other obhgatioii, and wilt entirely five 
thee to another thine, voluntarily taken on thee, 
under pretence of better pleismg and serving of 
God, in a thing which thou art not bound unto, 
in so doing- thou dost no discreet or acceptable 
service to Him, In so doingf thou art careful to 
do honour and worship to His head and to His 
face, and to deck and adorn them fairly and 
curiously, bur thou neglectest and leavest His 
body, with the feet, ragged and rent, and takest 
no care nor heed of chera, nor Josl thou arytliing 
honour Him; and it is but a shame and an 
indignity and no kind of horiour for a man lo be 
curiou&ly dressed and decked about his head cviih 
pearls and precious stones, and therewith lo 
have all his body naked and bare, as it were 
a beggar. Even so spiritually, it is no honour to 
God tor one to crown His head and leave His 
body bare; for thou must understand that our 
Lord Jesus Christ, as a man, is the head of His 
spiritual body, which is the holy Church, the 
members or limbs of His body are all Christian 
men, some are arms, some are feet, and some ^^^h 
other members, according to the qualities, coni^| 
dition or estatps they are of in the holy Church. 
And now if thou be diligent with all thy skill 
and ability for lo deck and adorn His head, that 
13. ior to honour Him with the remembrance 

to a Devout Man 


His passion ard of His other works done in Kia 
humanity, with devotioHj love and thanks to 
Him £or the same, and furgfetlest or reg-lectest 
His feet (which are thy children, thy servants, 
thy tenants and all thy Christian brethren) and 
lettest them to decay or peri^ih for want of look- 
ing to, or to want clothing sufiicifent, or other 
necessanes, or otherwise not looked unto and 
provided for as they ought to he, then dost thou 
not please Him, nor doest Him any honour; thou 
seemest to kiss His mouih by devotion and 
spiritual prayer, but thou treadest upon His feet, 
and dealest ihem, inasmuch as thou wilt not tend 
to them (through thy negligence) that belong to 
thy charge and care* This 15 my opinion and ad- 
vice to thee in this point ; nevertheless if thou be 
of the Tti]nd that 1 say not aright in this matter, 
for that thou thinkest it were a fairer and more 
pleasing oflice to God for to do honour to His 
bead, as to be all day devoutly thinking of His 
passioHj and producing acts of inw.ird aiTection 
upon it, than for to go home to other worlds that 
are more external, and make clean His feet, as 
for Co employ thyself both in words and deeds 
about the helping or benefiiing of thy Christian 
brethren, in so thinking thou thinkest amiss, and 
mistakest. For surely he will m<)re thank thee 
and reward thee for the humble washing of His 
feet when they are very foul, and yield an ill 
savour to thee, than for all the curious painting 
and fair dressing or decking that thou canst 
make about His head, by the devuutest remem- 
brance of His humanity; for It is fair enough, 
and needeth not much decking or dressing from 
thee i but for His feet, and other His limbs, that 
are sometimes ill-arrayed, and have need to be 
holpen by thee (namely, since thou art bound 


Treatise written 

thereto), our Lord will render thee more thnnks, il 
thou wilt humbly and charitably look unto them. 
For the lower or meaner that the service which 
tbou dost to thy Lord seemeth to be, in regard 
they are peifurmed towards His members, and 
not immediately towards Himself, yet doinf^ il 
for the love of Him, when reasonable occasions 
or need require it» and that with a cheerful and 
humble heart, thou much more please^t Him 
than in service immediat'-ly done to Himself 
with omission of these offices of need or cliaritjr 
towards thy Christian brethren. And that Ihoo 
mayest be the more willing to go about such an 
employment, thou shalt do well to think that it is 
sufficient, and best of all for thee to be employed 
in the veiy least degree, and lowest estate of 
service, especially since it is His will that it 
so> For ihou must think, that since He hath pB 
thee into that cha.rge and estate of life, thai it ii 
the very best for thee> and tliai thou canst not do 
belter than in perlorming what bflong's ihereio 
in the best manner and with all the willlngTiess 
and gladness of mind that thou art able. 

This I tell tbee not as though that already th^^| 
dost it not, and better too ; but to the end that thd^^ 
shouldst do it with more alacrity and cheerful- 
ness by occasion of this my writing; andshouldst 

not think it much sometimes to lessen or forbear 
thy spiritual exercise for to go and deal in worldly 
affairs pertaining lo thee and ihy estate, as to the 
looking and seeing too, that thy gc>oJs be well 
kept and spent according to reason, looking to 
the behaviour of thy servants and thy tenants, 
and doing other good deeds towards thy Chris- 
tian brethren according to thy ability and their 
need, but ^houldst perform both these works and 
exercises, that i& to say, the internal and ext 


to a Devout Man 


at divers and several times, and with ^3 gfood a 
will the one as the other, so far as thou canst. 
As for example, if thou hast been at thy prayer 
and spiritual exercise, that finished ihou shalt 
go and busy thyself in some corporal or external 
doing concerning thy Christian brethren, and 
therefore spend reasonable time with willingness 
and gladness of mind. And after that thou hast 
been busily employed for a time about thy ser- 
vants, and other men with whom thou shalt have 
occasions, and hast profitably spent with them 
so much time as shall be truly needful^ thou shalt 
then break from these external doings, and shalt 
return again to thy prayers and devotions, which 
thou shalt perform according to the grace that 
God shall give thee for it ; and so doing, thou, 
by the grace of our Lord, shalt put away and 
avoid sloth, laj:iness, idleness and vain rest, 
which often creep upon us through the deceit- 
fulness of our nature, under pretence or colour 
of contemplation or other spiritual recollections; 
whereby we come to omit the performance of 
good and meritorious external affairs and busi- 
nesses pertaining to us and our charge by the 
appointment or providence of God, And thus 
thou sh^lt be always in some good exercise or 
other, internal or external, by lurns, and in their 
proper times. 

Therefore thou shalt do well to observe and do 
that spiritually, that is, in ihy carriage in a spiri- 
tual life» which 7*iff^ did in a matterthat was only 
corporal or external. The holy Scripture telleth^ 
how that ytuoh^ when he began to serve his master 
Laban,h& coveted y^flt-^/^/his master's dau;^hler for 
herfairnesstobehjfi wife, and for the having of her 
he ser%'ed seven years ; but when he had thought 
for to have had her to his wife, he had first Leah^ 


Treatise written 

the other daug;hter, instead of Ra^Met^ and after- 
wards he takes Rachel, and so Ke had boih U 

the last. By Ji^cob in holy Scripture is under- 
stood an overcomer of sins; by those two »-ives 
are understood, as St Gregory saith, the tan 
kinds of lives that are in the holy Churcii, 
which are the active life and the contempla- 
tive Jife< J^eah is as much to say as labour 
and painful working, and beCokeneth the aciiw 
life, Rachel is as much as to say as a sig-hl 
of the beginning', which is God, and betokeoelb 
the contemplative lile. Leah bore children, bul 
she was sore-eyed. Rachel was fair and lovely, 
but she was barren. And now even as yam 
coveted Rachel for her fairness, and yet had hCT 
not when he would, but first took Leah and 
aftenvards Raehel, even so. every mar labour- 
ing, and heanily seeking (by compunction for 
his former ^eat sins of the flesh and of the 
world) now to become a new ser\'ant to God in 
cleanness of good living', hath a great desire to 
have and come by Rachel, which is lo ha\-e rtsi 
in spiritual sweetness, devotion and contempt^' 
Iwrt^ for it is so fair, and so lovely a life, 
in hope for to have it he determined with h 
self, by Ihe grace of our Lord, for to ser^-e Him 
with all his diligence and might; but oft-times 
when he thinketh lo have Rachel, that is, rest 
in devottorty our Lord suffereth him to be w 
exercised and tried, either with the temptati 
of the world, or of the devil, or of his flesh, 
else with some external businesses and doing, 
corporal or spiritual, in help or succour of his 
Chri.stiari brethren; and when he is thus well 
exercised, and in travails with Z-eah, and Is 
well-nigh overcome, then our Lord giveth him 
Rackety that is^ grace and devotion^ and rest 


to a Devout Man 


in conscience, and then hath he both Rachsl 

and Leah. 

So shah thou do, according' to the example 
of Jaccif^ these two lives, active and contem- 
plative, since God calleth and enableth thee 
for both, and use the one with the other of 
them- By the one life (which is the active) 
thou fihalt brin^ forth the fruit of many g:ood 
deeds in help of thy Christian brethren ; and 
bv the other shalt thou be made to become 
fain clear-sighted and clean in the supreme 
brightness and beauty, which is God, the be- 
ginner and ender of all that is made ; and then 
shah thou be iraly Jacobs and an out-goer and 
overcomer of all sins; and after that, by the 
grace of God, thy name shall be changed, as 
Jacob's name was, find turned into Israel, and 
Israel is as much as to say : a man seeing God. 
Therefore, if thou be first Jacob, and will dis- 
creetly use these two lives afterwards, in time 
thou shalt be Israel, that is, a true amtemplaiive^ 
either in this Hfe, if God will deliver thee, and 
make thee free from the charges and businesses 
which thou art bound to, or else after this life, 
fully and perfectly in the bliss of heaven when 
thou comest thither. A man shall desire a 
conlcmplative life» for it is fair and full of merit, 
therefore thou shalt ever have it in thy mind, 
and in thy desire ; but thou shalt have in using 
active life, for it is both expedient and necessary. 
Therefore, if upon just occasions, either concern- 
ing thy children or thy servants or any other 
of thy Christian brethren, for their profit or 
their heart'-s ease, upon reasonable cause, ask- 
ing it of thee, thou be put from thy rest in 
devotion, when thou hadst much rather stay 
itill ihereat, be not angry with them, nor heavy 


Treatise writtci 

or sad within thyself, so far as thou art 
to help it, nor ^.iraid, as if God would be anj 
with thee, that thou leavest Him for any oth^r 
business or doings, for He will not be 
but well pleased and delighted thou so do. 
therefore in such a case readily leave o£F t1 
devotion of what kind soever it be, and 
about the deed, being" service to thy Christian 
brethren^ and that as willing and readily, as U 
our Lord Himself had called and bidden the« 
to go about it. Do so, I say, and endure tbe 
difl^culty thou lindest in it for His loi'C; aod 
put away all grudging for it, so far as cbou 
canst; as also all bitterness and offence taken 
against thy Christian brother for calling Iboe 
to the said employment. 


Thit a Man'a Devotion aomflicnes will hi ihe ^rcatB 
by person of the outward Work which b«fofc out 
of Charily he hai been in hand with 

And it may fail out sometimes that the greater 
trouble thou hast exteriorly had in doing of thy 
active works, the more iiiEamed desire shalt thou 
afterwards have to God and the more sight ol 
God and spiritual things, through the grace d" 
our Lord, in devotion when thou comest thereto: 
for it farelh thereby as if thou hadst a little coal 
of fire, and would^t make a fire therewith, and 
make it burn ; thou wouldst first lay to some sticks, 
and with ihem over-cover the coal so that there 
is as yet no show or seeming hope of fire by it; 
nevertheless when thou hast abiden awhile an 
afterwards blowest it a little, anon, suddenly 
there will arise out a gr^at fljime of fire, so that 
the sticks will be turned all into fire. Even so is 


to a Devout Man 


it spiritually; thy will and thy desire that thou 
hast to Crod is as it were a little coal of fire in 
thy soul, for it giveth to thee somewhat of light 
and of spiritual heat ; but it is very little that it 
giveth, for often it waxeth cold and turneth 
to a fleshly rest (or into a rest of flesh and sensu- 
ality) and sometimes into idleness and doing* of no 
good ; therefore it is expedient that thou put 
to sticks, that is, some works of the active life; 
and though it be so that those works do seem for 
a time to be a let to thy desire, so that it may not 
be so entire nor so fervent as thou wouldst 
it were, yet be not daunted nor troubled thereat, 
but abideand suffer awhile, and so blow at the fire; 
that is, first g^o and do thy works, and afterwards, 
go alone to thy prayers and devotions, and lift up 
thine heart to God, and pray Him that of His 
goodness He will accept thy works that thou doest 
and receive them to His honour and glory ; hold 
them as nothing in thine own sight, nor lo be of 
any worth save so far as God only out of His 
goodness shall vouchsafe to accept of them ; 
humbly acknowledgfe thy wretchedness and 
frailly, really attributing thy good deeds to Htm ; 
and so much as they have any goodness in them, 
and inasmuch as they are bad, or not done 
discreetly with ail circii instances requisite for 
a good deed, ascribe them lo thyself, and then for 
this humility shall all thy good deeds turn into 
a flame of flr« as do sticks laid upon a coal ; and 
thou thus doing, thy external good deeds shall not 
hinder thy devotion but rather increase it. And 
moreover, our Lord saith in holy Scripture thus; 
J^rre shaii alwfiys hurn in My Aliar, tjnd thf Pnest 
rising up in ifU morning shall pui wood th€reu?tta^ 
so ifmi Ihe fire may noi be txJin^ ishid.* Thj s fire 

• Lev. vi, ij| rj. 

] SO if 

19 love and desire to God in a soul, the \chich fit* 
requireth ^hax. it be nouri^hod and maintain^ bjr 
laying 1o sticks^ so that it n^ay not g^o out; 
and the^e sticks are ol divers mauers. as i-omeoi 
one kind of wood and some of aiiotiier, A man 
that is learned and hath some understanding 
in the holy Scripture, if he have this fire of 
devotion in his hpart, it is good for him to g^t hira 
sticks of holy examples and devout praytTs, and 
nourish the fire witli [hem. Another man that is 
unlearned cannot so readily have at hand the 
sayings of holy Scripture, or of Doctors for the 
purpose, and therefore it is necessary for him lo 
do many good external deeds to his Christiia 
brethren, and thereby ma in Tain and exercise 
towards them the iove he beareth them for God. 

And so it is good thai each man in his degrw, 
and according to nhat is most agreeable to the 
benefit and disposition of hia soul, do gt^t him 
sticks of one thing or another, as either by pray- 
ing, considering'^ meditating- or reading' in some 
g-ood and devout book, or in doing- of some 
corporal or external work, thereby tor to nourish 
in his soul the fire of love so that it may not b€* 
come quenched ; for the affection of love is dainty 
and tender, and will easily go oui and vanish 
away unless it be well kept and continually 
nourished by guod deeds or exercises, corporal or 

Now therefore, since our Lord hath put into 
thine heart a litrle sparkle of this blessed fire, 
that is Htmsclfx (as holy Scripture saith. Our 
Lord 15 a consuming fir€;* for, as a material fire 
wasteth all bodily tilings that may be waited, so 
a spiritual fire, that is Godi wasteth all kind oi 
sin, and therefore nur Lord is likened to 

* DeuE. iv, 34 ; Heb. siji, 3^ 

to a Devout Man 337 

wasting] I pray thee to nourish this fire withia 
thee. This 6re iS nothing else but Love and 
Charity. This hath He sent into the eanh, as 
He sailh in the Gospel : / ^£im£ if> send fire into the 
farth^aiid io whut endy hut thai it might hum ?' that 
is, God hath put into man's soul a fire of love and 
a ^'ood desire, and a great good will for to please 
Him^ and that He hath done to this end, that 
man should know it, keep it, and nourish it, and 
strengthen and increase it, and thereby be saved. 
The greater desire that thou hast to Him and for 
Him, the greater is the fire of love in thee, 
and the less that the desire is in thee, the less is 
the fire> The quantity or measure of thy desire 
within thee, how much it is, neither thyself doth 
know, nor doth any man know how great it Is in 
him, much less chi; quantity of love ihat is in an- 
other man \ God only knoweth it, or he to whom 
God shall reveal and make it known. And there- 
fore dispute not with thyself as if thou wouldst 
knowhowgreat thy desire is i be busy and serious 
to desire as much as thou canst, but not to know 
the quantity or measure of thy desire. 


What the Desire of God for Himself ia and how that 
in Ckannfu of CoGKience b found true Com' 
fort and Sweetness 
Saint Augustine saith 'hat (Jic hfe of a'cry good 
Chrinttatt man is a conltnual desire to God, and 
such desire is of great power and virtue, for it is 
a great crying in the ears of God ; the more 
fervently thou desirest, the higher thou criest, 
the better thou prayest, and the wiser are thy 
thoughts. And what is this desire P Surely 

* Lnkv ±\\, 4Q. 



Treatjse writtn 

nothing but a loatliing of all this worldly blisa, 
a forsaking of alt fleshly or sensual love in thine 
heart> and an extreme loving, with a most hungry 
longing and thirsiing after Grod and the ever- 
lasting bliss of Heaven; this is that which may 
be called a desire of God for Mimself. 

If thou hast this desire, as I verily hope and be- 
lieve that thou ha^t> I pray thee keep it w^II and 
rourish it diligently; and when thou shalt pray 
or meditate of God, make this desire of Him to 
be tile beginning and final intention of such ihy 
exercises, and of all other thy worlcs and deeds, 
thereby to increase it. Seek and nourish only 
this, and seek not after any feeling in thy cor- 
poral senses, external or internal, nor any sen- 
sible sweetness or devotion, neither by the ear 
nor by the taste of thy palate, nor by any won- 
derfiil light or sight of thy eyes, nor seek the 
sight of Angels, no, though our Lord Himself 
would appear in His body to the sight of thy 
eyes, make no great matter of that; and there- 
fore let all thy diligence be that thou mayest 
truly and really perceive and find in thy soul, 
and especially in thy will, a loathing and full 
forsaking of all manner of sin and of all manner 
of uncleanness, with a spiritual seeing or per- 
ceiving how foul, how ngly and how painful 
these things be; and that thou mayest have 
within thee a mighty desiring of virtues, and, 
namely, of humility and charity, and finally, of 
the bliss of Heaven, This that I shall now tell 
thee were (as I would think] a spiritual comfort* 
and a spiritual sweetness in a man's soul; and 
that is, to have cleanness in conscience from 
wickedness and from all worldly vanities, \vith 
A firm faith and humble hope and a full desire 
of God, Howsoever it be for having of other 

to a Devout Man 


comforts and sweetnesses 1 esteem ihat sweet- 
ness to be true, sound and secure that is found 
in cleanness of conscience, with a strong will of 
forsaking and loathing oi all sins, and with in- 
ward si^'hc and ferveni desire of spiritual things ; 
all other comforts and swcetnt-sses caused by 
any manner of feelings, unless they lead or help 
to the said end, tliat is, to cleanness of con- 
science and spiritual desire of God, are not se- 
cure to rest on. 

But now thou wilt perhaps ask, •mheiher this 
desire be li/vff to God J 

As to ihai I answer and say : That this de- 
sire is not properly love^ but a beginning and 
taste of love, for love properly is a perf.rct uniting 
and couplintj together of the lover and the loved 
inCo one. Perfect love maketh God and the soul 
to be as if chey both togeiher were bui one thinjf. 
But such perfect coupling and union may not be 
had in this life, buc only in desire and longing 
thereto, as by the example that I shall now de- 
liver thee. If a man love another man that is 
absent, he greatly desireth his presence. Even 
5o spiritually, as long as we arc in this life, our 
Lord is absent from us, so that here we may 
neither see Him nor feel Him as He is, and 
therefore are not able (for want of such sight 
and feeling) here to love Him in fulness and 
perlection and in reality as we might do if we 
had ihe sight of Him realiy, and as He is in His 
own being'; the which, because we have not, nor 
shall have in this life, therefore all that we can 
do here is to have a desire and a gr^-at longing 
and thir^^ting for to be present wiih Him and see 
Him in His bliss* and to be fully and perfectly 
united unto Him in love. This desire we may 
have in us [of His gift) in this life, by the which 


Treatise writlen 

nil I 

we shall be save<l, for it is love unto Him, such as 

niay here be had, Sf Paul saith thus : IVe >to=p 
M*r/ wktif we au in this body we are pilgnms 'or 
strangers) from God* That is, we abide in this 
earth, or banishment, absent from Heaven, fc 
we here walk by failh, and not by sight [thai xs^ 
we here live in faith, not \^ real sig'ht of Him as 
He is) : but we are bold, and have a good will 
rather to be absent from the body, and to 
present to our Lord (that is, we, through cleai 
n?ss of constieTTce and sure trust of salvatioi 
dare desire parting from our body by bodily 
death, and thereupon to be present Co our Lord): 
nevertheless, because as yet we may not, there- 
fore we endeavour, whelher present or absent, to 
please Him; that is, we strive agfainst the sinifl 
of the world, and pleasures of the flesh, andV 
sensuality^ by de.sire to Him, seeking to bum 
and consume in the fire of such our desire all h 
things that may let Or hJndtn^ us from Him. H 

But thou wile perhaps further ask me : 
Whtiher a man may conlinitally have this desin 
in his heart t and thou perhaps thinkest that hi 

As lo that I will answer according to m\ 
opinion in it, which is, that thou mayest have' 
this desire in ihlrie heart and intention virtually 
or habitually, always and continually; but thou 
can^t not so have it as to working or exercising 
upon it, as thou mayest better understand by this 
example. If thou wert sick, thou wouldst have, 
as every man in auuh a case hath, continually 
a natural desire in thine heart of bodily he^th ; _ 
and this whether thou be aMeep or awake, bulfl 
art thinking of some worldly things; thou hast 
then such a desire onlv in iiitention or habit, and 

• X Cor, V, 6i 



to a Devout Man 


not in using or ac tmg upon ic. But wlien tiioa 
thinkest on thy bodily sickness or on tliy bciikli, 
then hajst thuu tliy saiJ desire ot health in u-ing 
and aciing, hvt^n to it is spirituoUy in the dtj- 
sire o( God, He who by tht yiU ul God liath 
this deiire, though he sl**^ p, or else ihmkeih not 
on God, but on some other worldly ihings, yet 
hatTi he this desire in- his heart and soul till he 
commit some deadly sin. But aa soon as he 
thinketh on God or puriiy of life or the joys of 
Heaven, then his desire to God workctb actually, 
as long as he keepeLh his thouglit and iiiltnuon 
to please God, either in prayers, meilititionK, or 
any other >rood action, so that all his endeavour 
be to excite this desire, and discreetly use it 
sometimes in one deed, someiimes in another, 
accorJingas he isdJsposed and liath grace thereto. 
This desire is the root of all thy aclLOns that 
are rewardable- For whatever good deed thou 
doest for God's sake, whether it be bodily or 
spiritual, as when thou prayeat or mediiaiest. 
it is an exercising and \t-sing of this desire. And 
therefore when thou doest any good work, scruple 
not whether thou desiresc God or no, for thy 
deed showeth thy desire. Some ignorantly con- 
ceive that ihey desire not God except ihey be 
ever calling upon Him either with thtir mouths 
or their hearts ; and therefore they are con- 
tinually saying, Lord save me^ or some such-like 
words; which words indeed are good, because 
ihey stir up the heart to a desiring of God, Yet 
nevertheless, without any such words, a pure 
thought of God, or any spiritual thing, or of 
virtue, or the humanity of Christ, or joys of 
Heaven, or understanding of the holy Scrip- 
tures, with io^'e. may be better than such words. 
And the more spiritual thy thought is, the more 


is thy desire* Be not, therefore, in doubt whether 
ihou desirest G'>d, when ihou ihinke&t upon H'm 
or doest any outward good work to ihy neigh- 
bour, for thy dt-eds show it. Nevertheless, though 
all thy g*ood actions, spiritual and corporal, are 
a demonslralioM ot thy desire to God. yet is there 
a great diiTerence between ^pintual and corpor^K 
deeds, for deeda of a Contemplative life are not ^H 
outward as the oiher; and therefore when thou 
praye>>t Unto, or meditatest upon God, thy desire 
to Him IS more entire, more [erverjt, more spiri- 
tual than when thou doest external works of chai 
rity to thy neighbour. 


Now, if thou ask me by what means Ih* 
fihaU keep thi'* desire, and nourish it, I sh; 
tell a little in that poirt, not wuh the meaning 
that thou shalt or most use the self-same rora|H 
that I teJi th€e for \\ \ but that thou thereby hav^^ 
some kind of general example, whereof thou shalt 
make use upon thy need and according to thy 
manner— not my manner> unless mine seem more 
for thy purpose, for I neither may nor can tell 
thee fully what is best for thee to use ; but I shall 
tell thee somewhat according lo what I think. 


How ihou shall Dispose thee lo Dizvolioa 

In the night after thy sleep, if thou wilt rise 
pray and serve our Lord, thou shall feel thys* 
at the first to be fleshly, heavy, and, as 
were, drowned in sen*iuajity, and ofttimes im- 
pertinent thoughts of the world or other vanities 
pressing into thy mind. But then shalt thou 

lo think fiome 




to a Devout Man 


thought, for to revive and quicken thine heart 
towards God, and do ihou use all thy discreet in- 
dustry-, for the drawing up of thy thoughts from 
^worldly vanities, and from vain imaginations 
that come into thy mind, that so thou mayest 
feel some devotion in such vocal prayers as 
thou shalt then use, if thou use any such; or 
else (if ihou wilt) enter thou into some spiritual 
thoughts, whereby thou mayest not remain hin- 
dered and troubled with auch vain thoughts ot 
the world or of thy flesh. And now as for matter 
of good thought'* for thee, thou must know that 
there be divers matters of such thoughts or 
meditations, but which of them were best for 
thee 10 take and use I cannot tell thee. 

But I trow that such mstter and manner of 
thinking or meditating, wherein thou feelest 
greatest gust, facility and ease or pleasure, is 
best for thee to use so long as it continueth 
50 grateful to ihy spirit. Thou mayest (if 
thou wilt) sometimes think on thy sins here- 
tofore committed t and of the fraiJties into 
which thou daily fallest, and ask mercy and for- 
giveness for them. Also after this thou mayest 
think on the frailties and sins and miseries, 
corporal and spiritual, of thy Christian brethren, 
with pity and compassion of them, and ask 
mercy and forgiveness for them as tenderly as 
for thyself, and as if thou hadst done themi and 
that is a good exercise for the time. For I tell 
thee for truth that thou mayest make of other 
men's sins a precious ointment for to heal thine 
own soul, when thou thinkest on them with com- 
passion and sorrow ffir them ; this ointment is 
precious and very medicinaJ, though the spicery 
or things whereof it is composed be not clean, 
or otherwise wholesome \ for it is treacle or 


Trcatiac writto 

mithridate, made of poison for to do avray And 
destroy poison ; that is to say, thine own and 
other men's sins. If thou beat and bruise them 
well with sorrow of thine heart, pity and cora- 
pa^sior, they turn into treacle or mithridate, thii 
will cleanse and make whole thy soul from pride 
and envy, and bring into it love and charity lo 
thy Christian brethren. Such thought is good 
for thee aomelimes to take into thee. 


How a Man is to Think on the Humanity of Chnsi ^ 

Also for thy exercise of devotion thou mayesi 
IhinV on the humanity of our Lord, as of His 
birth, of His Passion or of any other of His 
works, and feed thy thought with spiritual 
imagination thereof, for to move thine affection 
more to the love of Him. This thought (I mean 
of something of our Saviour's humanity) is good 
and expedient, namely, when it cometh freely 
of God's gift, with devotion and fervour of spirit, 
else a man will not likely Und taste or devoUoa 
in it. And if he have it not with such facility 
and sending of God, 1 think It not expedient that M 
a man should much force himself in it, as if he | 
would get it by violence ; for so doing he might 
hurt his head and body too, and yet be never the^ 
nearer. Therefore t think that it is good fo£^| 
a man to have in his mind and thought 5om9-^f 
times our 5a\'iour'5 humanity, or some matter 
thereof; and if devotion come withal, and relish 
or gii^^t found in it, then to hold it and follow 
it for a time, but leave off soon, and hang n( 
long thereon, And if devotion come not b^ 

to a Devout Man 


thinking of the Passion^ strive not, nor press loo 
much for to have and come by such devotion 
or fei?]ing in it, but take what will easily come ; 
and if it come not easily betake thee to some 
other matter, wherein thou Ehinkest or hopest 
to find more devotion or gust. 



How A Man ahall think on Virtues and upon the 

Also other thoughts there be that are more 
spirima.!, as to think on virtues, and to see by 
light oi underslandinj^ the virtue of humility, 
what it is, and what great reasons be why a man 
should be humble; and also what is patience, 
cleanness in soul, justice, charity, sobriety and 
other such like virtues ; and how worthy it is 
that a man should labour for the getting ot them, 
and of the means by which they may be gotten, 
and by such thoughts to have a great desire and 
longing to the having of those virtues ; and abo 
for to have a spiritual sight of the three principal, 
or Theological Virtues, Faith, Hope and Charily, 
By the sight and desire of these virtues a soul 
Bhould see and feel much grace of our Lord, 
without wliich grace a man's soul !s half blind^ 
and without spiritual sweetness or taste. Also, 
for to think on the aaints, as the apostles, 
martyrs, confessors ;ind holy virgins, beholding 
in his interior their holy living and the grace 
and virtues that our Lord gave them in iheir 
life, and by the remembrance and consideration 
hereof, to stir thy heart for to take example from 
them for leading a better and perfecter life. 


Treatise writtec 


How A Man shall think ot the Holiness of our Lord 
Je3U5 and of our Blcsscii hady 

Also the thinking and considering- .'above a 
other salntSj of our Lady 5V Afary and her escel-^ 
lency in grace and virtues is a gocxl matter for 
raising- and exercise of devotion, by seeing with 
thy spiritual eye the abundance of grace ihaC vm 
in her holy soul when she was here living, which 
our Lord had givRu her, above what He g^ve to 
any of the other Saints ; for she was repleniabd 
\vith all other virtues, without one spot of sin, 
showing and manifesting by her life perfect 
humility and fulness of charity, with the beauty 
and excellence of all other virtues, th(» vhic 
virtues altogether make her so holj-. that there 
would no temptation, or Tnoiion of pride, en\x. 
wrath or anger* sensual delight or of any ochn- 
kind of sin or imperfection enter into her heart 
or deftle her soul in any part of it. By the be- 
holding of the beaut}' and excellency of this 
blessed soul, a man's heart should be moved anc 
put into a great spiritual delight and comfort. 

And much more and abo\^ that is the behold- 
ing of the soul of our Lord Jesus, the which so 
of His was fully and wholly united to the divinity.; 
excelling without any comparison our bles 
Lady and all other creatures. For in the Passi 
of Jesus are two natures, Uiat is, God and moin, 
perfectly united together. By the virtue of thi 
most blessed union, which cannot be expres 
nor yet conceived by man's wit or undcr&landi 
the soul of Jesus hath received the ]Krrfecii( 
and fulness of all wisdom and goodness; as th 

to a Devout Man 


^posiis aailh ; The Julruss of the dtviutty doik 
dwiU in CAri's/ car/v?rri//y ;' th^th, the divinity of 
God was fuliy united to the humanity (or man's 
nature) in the soul of Jesus, and so, by the meiins 
of His soul dwelling in His body, the remem- 
brance of the humanity of our Lord after this 
manner (that is, to regard the virtues and sur- 
passing grace of the soul of Jesus) should be 
right comfortable to a man's soul. 


Of seeing and beliolding the Power (by some coH' 
sidcration op ihinking), the Wisdom, the Goodness 
and the Mercy of God in His Creatures 

Also the remembrance of the power, the wisdom 
and the goodness of our Lord in all His creatures ; 
for as much as we living- here on earth cannot 
see God fully and as He is in Hi^ essence, there- 
fore we are to see and behold Him, love and fear 
Him upon the sight and consideration of His 
cneatutes and His works; and in them also are 
we to admire and wonder at His power and 
goodness. Also, for to think on the mercy of 
our Lord, that He hath showed to me and to 
thee, and to all sinful captives that sometimes 
were in bondage to the devil* through the great- 
ness and multitude of our sins; how He patiently 
suffered us to live in our sin, and in our heinous 
contempts of Him, and work no reveng-e on us 
for the same, as He most justly might have done, 
and might most worthily have cast us down 
headlong into Hell, if His love had not hindeivjd 
Him i but out ot love He spared us^ and sent His 
grace into our souls, taking us out of the state of 
heinous &ins, and by His ^ace hath turned our 

• Col ji, ^ 


Treatise ■writtm' 

will entirely unto 111m, and made us ihereby, 
for the having of Him, and for His love, to for- 
sake all manner of sin. The remembrance of 
His mercy and goodness, in these and m other 
matters and points more and greater than I can 
now reckon up, may justly rau^e and bring into i 
soul a great truth and confidence in our Lord, and 
a full hope of salvation, and greatly inflameththe 
desire of love to aspire to the joys of Heaven. 


How the Consideralion and thinkiaff on tde Miseritt 
and PcriU of this Life ia apt to breed in a muI iliC 
Desire oE Heaven 

Also to think upon the miseries, mischiefs and 
perils, corporal and spiritual, that happen in this 
life; and after that to think of the joys of 
Heaven, as bow great happiness is there, and 
what wonderful joy and delight; for there is 
neither siop nor sorrow, nor passion nor pain, 
hunger nor thir&C, aches nor sickness, doubt nor 
fear, shame nor blame, nor want of powt?r, nor 
strength, nor lack of ligi^t, nor coldness in love; 
but there is most excellent beauty, clearness, 
strength^ health, everlasting delights, perfect 
wisdc»m, love, peace, honour, security, rest, joy 
and bliss in abundance without ever having any 
end. The consideration of these points ought to 
cause thee the more fervently to covet and desire 
those everlasting joys and rest of that same most 
blessed life. Many men are covetous of worldly 
goods, honours and earthly riches, and thij " 
both in dreaming and winking how and by wl 
means Ihcy might come thereto; and then ihi 
forget all care of their souls" good, and 

to a Devout Man 


thoughts of the pains of Hell, or of the joys of 
Heaven. Surely these men are not wise ; Chey 
are like to children that run after butter^ies, and. 
because they look not to their feet, they some- 
times easily fall down and break their legs. 
What {& all the pomp, honours, riches and jollity 
of this world but a butterfly } .Surely it ia no 
more, yea, it is much less. Therefore, I pray 
thee, be covetous of the joys of Heaven, and thou 
shalt have honour and riches that shall last for 
ever. For at the latter day, when worldly 
covetous men bring no good in their hands 
(because all their honour and riches, which they 
only made account of, are turned into nothing 
hilt sorrow and pain) then the good men of the 
world, that have truly forsaken all vain honours 
and riches of this worlds or else if they had them 
they made no account in their hearts of iheiBj nor 
did set their love or delight in them, but have 
ever lived in the peace of God and in humility 
and in hope, and sometimes in sorrows or afflic- 
tions, and patienily expected the mercy of God ; 
they (I say) shall then fullv attain that which 
they here coveted, for they shall be crowned as 
kings, and shall ascend up with our Lord into 
the bliss of Heaven, Also there be many other 
good considerations or thouglits (more than I can 
speak of) that serve to stir and raise a man's 
mind and afTeciion to loathe the vanities of this 
world and to desire the joys of Heaven. 

These mailers I have not mentioned unto 
thee as if I had wiihal fully showed the manner 
how they are exercised in a man's soul j but I 
have only touched them a little, to the end thou 
mightest, by so much the better, understand 
these things for such use as thou canst best 
e of them. 


Treatise -wrinen 


How a Mdn 3Ka.ll do wTien he feeletb no U5le 001 
comfdrL in bis Menial Exercises 

Nevertheless 1 would think it were good To 
thee thai when thou disposest thee to think on 
God, as I have before said, or ia any othct 
manner, and peraJvenlure thou feelest no guM 
nor devotion in thy exercUe, but only a naked 
mind and a weak will; by which thou woulda 
fain think on God, but canst not; then 1 think it 
is good for thee that thou strive not too much 
with thyself, for so thou mayest fall into greaier 
darknes:^i unless thou knowest how to work monk 
suhilely, and more above in spirit, and with all 
quietness in the senses. But thou not knowing 
how to do SQ for want of experience or ^kiU in it. 
I hold it more secure for thee in such a case for 
to say thy Paier ncslcr and thine Ava J^farta^ or 
else thy Matins, or to read in thy Psalter, for 
that IS evermore a sure standard that will not 
fail. Whoso may cleave thereto he shall not err; 
and if thou canst by thy prayer get devotion, 
look then that this devotion be only in affection, 
that is to say in a great desire toward God, with 
a spiritual delight. Hold on then such thy saying 
of those vocal prayers, and not easily break off: 
for oftentimes it happeneth that praying with the 
mouth gelteth and keepeth devotion, and if m 
such a case thou cease from sayingj thy devotion 
withal vanjsheth away. 

Nevertheless, il Defection in prayer bring into 
thine heart a devout thought of the humanity of 
our Lord, or of any of the other matters before 
mentioned by me, and this thought should 

to a Devout Man 351 

hindered by thy saying of the voca! prayers, then 

will it be best for thee to cease from thy saying:, 
and to teed thy mind and affection with the 
thought of the said good matter till it leave thee 
And be vani:^hed away. 


Whit a Mm is to take beed of in his Prayers 
and Me dilations 

But of certain things it behoveth thee to beware 
in thy meditations ; of some of them I shall tell 
thee- One is chat when thou hast had a spiritual 
thought or imagination of the humanity of our 
Lord, or of other bodily things, and thy soul hath 
been comforted and fed therewithj and afterward 
it pasACth away of itr^elf ^ do not seek, as it were, 
by mastery or force to hold it still, for then it 
will turn thee into pain and bitterness. Also, if 
it pass not away, but dwell stiU in thy mind, 
without any travail or industry of thine, and 
thou, for the comfort ihou findest in it, wilt not 
leave it, and thereupon it still continuing- with 
thee, Cometh to bereave or hinder thee of thy 
sleep at nights, or else in the day limes hinrlereth 
thee from other good deeds, or else through the 
great fervour that it worketh in thy body, thy 
body or thine head by it falleth into a great 
feebleness; then must thou lessen or moderate, 
and sometimes forbear such exercise of thine, 
even when thou hast most devotion in it, or to 
it, and wouldst otherwise be most loth to for- 
bear it, or part from it ; and theretore thou must 
needs use discretion in the matter, ior to avoid 
those mischiefs, or any of them, which now 1 
have reckoned up to ihce. or any other mischief 



Treatise written 

or peril that may come to thee through in<^is- 
creet lervour or love to ihose thy exercises; 
and in particular, ^ivg it over when it is reason- ) 
able time lo give it over, or when thy CEiristiao . 
brother may receive harm, or take just offence 
at thee by CfCgasion of thy long slay at such ihy 
devotions, Ir thou do othtrwise in this matter 
than I have told thee, I think thou dost not well 
nor wisely in it. I 

A worldly man or woman that peradventure 
feels not devotion twice in a year, if he {through 
the grace of our Lord Jesus) feel great compunc- 
tion for his sins, or think seriously or devoutly 
on the Passion of our Lord, or upon any other 
good matter, if he by occasion thereof, and his 
devotion therein, be put from his sleep and his 
reht, for one, or two, or tliree nights, until bis 
head ache, it tnakes no great mailer, nor will 
he be the worse for it ; such devotion Cometh 
but seldom upon such persons. But as for theai 
or any other man or woman, that every day duly 
performest, or haih such devotions, and iniend- 
est to continue in pursuing of such daily exer- 
cises, it is expedient for thee to use and hold 
discretion in thy performance of those thy exer- 
cises, and not fully to yield and plunge thyself 
into devotion, so Uv as it will offer itself unto 
thee, but moderate thyself in it, and take it 
moderately, though it offer itself to thee in 

Also I hold it good, that thou observe this 
discretion in thy exerci^e^ which is, that thou 
tarry not too long at it, that thereby thou put 
thyself from taking thy meat or of thy sleep, 
when the time shall be for taking of them, or do 
give just cause of displeasure or damage to any 
other man, through occasion of overloog tuny- 

to a Devout Man 


ing at ^uch thy devotion. The wise man saith: 
That aU things have thetr ttme* 

Another thing which behoveth thee to beware 
of is that when thy mind hath been employed 
for a time in the imagination of the humanity of 
our Saviour, or any other good matter, and after 
this thoa seekest with all the desire of thine 
heart, for to have a more spiritual knowing or 
feeling of the divinity ; press no: too much upon 
such desire, nor suffer the desire of thine heart to 
tarry too long therein, as if Ihou wert expecting 
and tanying for some better or higher elevation 
of thy spirit, or for a feeling that had more 
worth or excelling in it than any thou hast 
hitherto had. Thou shalt not do so. It is enough 
for thee and for me for to have a desire and 
a longing to our Lord; and if He out of His 
grace and goodness will vouchsafe, over and 
above such desires of ours, freely, and of His 
own accord, to aend us of His spiritual light, 
and open our spiritual eye, for to see or ^now 
more of Him than heretofore he did or could, 
by our own labour and industry, let us thank 
him for it ; but if He do not (because we are 
not as yet humble enough, but were likely to 
grow proud by reason of such extraordinary 
favours, if He bestowed them on us, or are not 
disponed in other respects, and namely, by clean- 
ness of conscience through welt living, for to 
ftceive such grace and favour at His hands), 
then let us humbly acknowledge our own un- 
worthiness, and hold ourselves satisfied wich the 
desire we have of Htm, and with other common 
good thoughts, that may easily be had and used 
by our imagination ; as thinking of our sins, 
of Christ's Passion, or other such like ihinps. 

J:,i.iJc» i\u 


Treatise writtefl 

or else with some vocal prayers of the PsalW 
or other vocal prayers* and thank Him with 
all our hearts, thai He bestoweth upon us any 
portion of His grace or fasour, thoug:h it be 
the least that any man And if thou do 
otherwise, thou mayest easily be deceived {for 
thy presumption) by ibe spirit of error; for it 
is a great folly for a man of his own head or 
wilfulness lo press or strain himself too much, 
to get into the sight or exercise of spiritual 
things further than he seeth well that he hath 
invitation and enablement for it. For the wise 
man saiih that the starchet of (he Majesty (a/ 
Gad) ihitll be oppressed by the gtory of Him ; * for 
not having humility, cleanness and worthiness 
in soul, for such a sight be shall be cast down, 
and made to know himself better than he did 
through this confusion. And therefore the same 
wise man in another place saith thus ; Do net 
suk f&r things that arc higher, Twr search inh 
things that pasi thy stretigth ; t that is to say, high 
things that are above thy natural reason and 
apprehension seek not after, and great matters 
that are above thy ability or strength do not 
search into. By these words the wise man doth 
not wholly forbid us to seek after and desire 
the knowing and having of spiritual and 
heavenly things^ but he forbiddeth us to seek 
for them In a preposterous manner, which is 
too soon, and sooner than we are fit for them 
or that God calleth us to them, as when we are 
as yet sensual, and not cleansed from the vain 
love of the world ; being in that decree, we 
are not to take upon us as if we could or 
would by our labour or industry, or by our 
own wit, enable ourselves to discern, see cr 

to a Devout Man 


know spiritual things, or procure in ua great 
fervour of the love of God ; so that albpic we 
see that we set at nought all worldly thing's, 
and it seem to us that we would for God's 
love forsake all the wealthy honour and joys of 
this world ; yet for all this we are unfit and 
indisposed for to seek and behold spiritual 
things that are above us, until our souls 
through precedent exercises of the imagination, 
become to be more subtle, or as it were thin, 
or somewhat spiritual, and wilhal he become 
well mortilied and settled in virtues by pro- 
cess of time and by increase in grace. For 
{as St Gregory saith) no man suddenly (or 
hastily) becometh supreme or perfect in grace, 
but beginneLh with little, and proceedeih on by 
little and little, until that he come to be per- 
fect, the which God grant that we all may one 
day t>e. Amen.